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Sidewalk added at intersection of 98, 104

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2016 at 3:57 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

GAINES – Keeler Construction employees installed a new sidewalk today at the southwest corner of the routes 98 and 104 intersection in Gaines, a walkway across from the Village Inn.

The sidewalk stretches from Route 104 to the blacksmith shop that is part of the Cobblestone Museum.

Keeler did the project after replacing pavement on Route 98 from 104 south past the Village of Albion.

Artist sees beauty in the rural landscape

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2016 at 9:43 pm


Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum held a reception this evening for artwork by Connie Mosher, an artist from Gaines. She is pictured with an oil painting, entitled, “Arizona Chapel.”

It is one of about 30 paintings on display at the Cobblestone Church on Route 104, just east of Route 98.

“I see something beautiful and I want to preserve it,” Mosher said during the reception. “I love to express what I’ve experienced.”

The collection of work will be on display during September during regular museum hours. (Click here for more on the museum.)

Many of Mosher’s paintings show local farms, including this one entitled, “Baling Straw.” Mosher lives on West Transit Church Road with her husband John, a retired professor from Brockport State College. They raised four kids out in the country. “The rural landscape is very beautiful.”

Many of Mosher’s paintings show local farms, including this one entitled, “Baling Straw.” Mosher lives on West Transit Church Road with her husband John, a retired professor from Brockport State College. They raised four kids out in the country. “The rural landscape is very beautiful.”

“Afternoon Practice” depicts a girl playing the piano.

“Afternoon Practice” depicts a girl playing the piano.

These four paintings include (clockwise from top right): Early Spring on West Transit Church Road, Bridge Over The Erie Canal , The Wicker Chair, and Holley Waterfall.

These four paintings include (clockwise from top right): Early Spring on West Transit Church Road, Bridge Over The Erie Canal , The Wicker Chair, and Holley Waterfall.

“Strawberries for sale” is a painting at Chad and Alana Fabry’s in Holley, showing strawberries for sale on a wagon.

“Strawberries for sale” is a painting at Chad and Alana Fabry’s in Holley, showing strawberries for sale on a wagon.

Mosher paints scenes from all seasons, including this one, “Spring is coming.”

Mosher paints scenes from all seasons, including this one, “Spring is coming.”

Gaines, Kendall seek 6-month moratorium on industrial solar energy applications

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2016 at 4:27 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board has backed a proposed six-month moratorium on applications for industrial solar energy generation facilities in two towns.

Gaines and Kendall want time to update their zoning ordinances for large-scale solar projects, those encompassing more than a half-acre of land. The moratorium does not apply to solar projects for homes.

The Planning Board also suggested the towns allow solar projects at farms because the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets considers solar that does not exceed 110 percent of a farm’s electrical needs to be on-farm equipment, which is allowable in an agricultural district.

In other action, the Planning Board last Thursday:

The Lonowood Art Company in Albion designed the sign for El Sol Nace.

The Lonowood Art Company in Albion designed the sign for El Sol Nace.

• Backed a freestanding sign for a tortilla-making business on Route 31 in Albion. Gabriel Rodriguez is constructing a new building for El Sol Nace, a business on Route 31 that will sell tortilla, work boots, cowboy boots and also handle money transactions, such as wiring funds.

Planners already approved the site plan for the building, but the freestanding sign wasn’t in the original application. The sign would be nearly 4 feet by 7 feet at 439 West Ave.

Planners said the new sign should not be placed in a way that obstructs sight lines from vehicles attempting to exit the property. It also needs to be set back at least 15 feet from the front property line and 5 feet from the side property line, which is the village sign ordinance.

• Recommended the Town of Shelby issue a permit for Jonathan R. Daniels of Waterport to operate a motor vehicle repair shop at 11352 Maple Ridge Rd. Daniels will use a structure that has been home to a motor vehicle repair shop for several decades on Route 31A in the Hamlet District.

Gaines Town Board gives thanks for work on historical markers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 August 2016 at 6:13 pm
Provided photo

Provided photo

GAINES – The Gaines Town Board on Tuesday recognized the efforts of Clarendon Town Historian Melissa Ierlan for giving many historical markers in Orleans County a fresh look.

She has restored the paint on numerous historical markers in Gaines, and others in the county, including one just outside Orleans for the mucklands in Genesee County.

Pictured, from left: Al Capurso, Gaines town historian; Melissa Ierlan; and Carol Culhane, Gaines town supervisor.

Gilbert marker

Photos by Tom Rivers

Ierlan repainted this marker on Ridge Road, next to the Gaines Carlton Community Church, for pioneer settler Elizabeth Gilbert. The marker had flaked off paint and was getting hard to read to motorists on Route 104.

Gilbert marker

She also repainted a marker for a cobblestone house on Ridge Road near the Cobblestone Museum.

Fire destroys Eagle Harbor home

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2016 at 8:26 pm

Eagle Harbor fire

EAGLE HARBOR – Albion firefighters Chuck Prentice, right, and Mike Dalle spray water on the smoldering remains of a house in Eagle Harbor. Fire torn through the house this afternoon, leveling the structure at 3248 Eagle Harbor Rd.

Firefighters were dispatched to the home of Richard Clark at about 1:30 p.m. The house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Albion firefighters were close by at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Many fire departments were there as part of a display of fire trucks.

Eagle Harbor fire

The quick response to Eagle Harbor wasn’t enough to prevent the house from being a total loss. The structure was set back from the road in a wooded area. Live wires that were sparking added to the challenge.

Eagle Harbor fire

Live wires that were sparking made part of site unsafe. National Grid arrived after this photo was taken to deaden the wires.

Clark wasn’t home at the time when the fire started. He thinks an animal could have started it or perhaps a sparking electric wire. The fire is under investigation.

Dave Bertsch

Carlton firefighter Dave Bertsch gets water on the fire. Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management coordinator, is at right.

Cobblestone Church becoming more popular for weddings

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 July 2016 at 11:00 am

GAINES – The former Beth Stella and her husband Dave Griffith walk out of the Cobblestone Universalist Church this afternoon after their wedding at the historic site on Route 104.

Their wedding is one of six at the church this year. There were seven at the Cobblestone Church last year. The Cobblestone Museum is seeing increased interest from couples in using the church for weddings.

“All denominations are welcome,” said Sue Bonafini, the volunteer coordinator and wedding coordinator for the Cobblestone Museum. “This is a place where you can go and have a pastor come in in a religious setting.”

The sanctuary of the church, built in 1834, was decorated in a World War II/USO theme for the wedding. Both Stella and Griffith are historical buffs.

“We wanted a place with a lot of history,” Griffith said before the wedding today. “It’s a beautiful place.”

The weddings draw a crowd to the museum, and also raise needed funds for the museum’s operational and maintenance costs. The museum charges $400 to rent the church, and that includes for a rehearsal and the wedding.

“People like the intimate space in the sanctuary,” Bonafini said. “People are ‘oohing and aahing’ over the space itself.”

Beth Stella heads into the church this afternoon for her wedding. The church is part of a museum complex that is a National Historic Landmark. The church is the oldest cobblestone church in North America.

Many of the couples that get married at the Cobblestone Church will then have their reception at Tillman’s Village Inn.

The church is available for weddings between May 1 and Oct. 31. For more information, click here.

Pickup truck takes out utility pole by Rocking R Ranch

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 July 2016 at 3:10 pm

GAINES – The driver of a Dodge pickup truck ran into a utility pole on Route 104 this afternoon by the Rocking R Ranch. The pole was knocked down at about 1:37 p.m. and damaged a trailer that belonged to a customer of the Rocking R Ranch.

The driver was responsive and didn’t appear seriously injured, but he was trapped inside due to live wires from the utility pole. National Grid was on scene at about 2 p.m.

Albion firefighter David Nayman directs traffic near the scene of the accident at Rocking R Ranch, 14877 Ridge Road West, Kent.

A Sheriff’s Office deputy on scene said the driver was distracted and drove off the road.

Jennifer Alchin, owner of the Rocking R Ranch, was making a milkshake when the truck crashed into the pole, knocking out power for the business.

She said the utility pole has been hit several times before by motorists.

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3-car accident at 5 Corners; 1 taken by Mercy Flight

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 June 2016 at 5:44 pm

GAINES – The driver of this Lancer was injured and taken by Mercy Flight helicopter after an accident at the 5 Corners in Gaines at 4:51 p.m. today.

The driver was headed west on East Bacon Road when she entered the intersection because her brakes failed, she told deputies on scene.

The driver of the white car struck the Lancer after it passed into the intersection where routes 98, 279 and Bacon Road all converge. The driver of white car was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

There was another vehicle involved in the accident that had minor damage. The 5 Corners is the site of numerous accidents every year.

Gaines, Albion reach 3-year deal for fire protection

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2016 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – Albion firefighter Darryl Szklany checks the back of structures at the Par-Me Golf Course on Feb. 5. The site is on Brown Road in the Town of Gaines.

GAINES – The Gaines Town Board today agreed to pay much more for fire contract in a new three-year deal with the Village of Albion.

The Village Board notified Gaines in April that it was terminating the fire contract on Aug. 31, at 11:59 p.m. The contract between the town and village expired on Dec. 31, 2015.

Village officials wanted Gaines to pay $100,000 for fire protection outside the village, the same as the Town of Albion pays for property outside the village.

The new agreement, approved today, will have Gaines pay $75,000 in 2016, $90,000 in 2017 and $100,000 in 2018.

Gaines paid $33,860 in 2015. That was a fire protection rate of 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed property, by far the lowest in the county. The Town of Yates is next lowest at 49 cents with Carlton at 75 cents. Every other town pays at least $1 per $1,000 for fire protection.

Gaines Town Board members asked for a four-year deal with $60,000 for 2016, $80,000 in 2017, $90,000 in 2018, and $100,000 in 2019.

But Village Board members wanted Gaines at $100,000. Mayor Dean London said the board gave Gaines a $35,000 break from the $100,000 by agreeing to $75,000 for 2016 and $90,000 in 2017.

Gaines has had a discount on its fire protection rate since 1995 when the Town Board then and Village Board agreed to a 20-year discounted fire protection rate in exchange for Gaines making the sewer plant on Densmore Street tax exempt.

Gaines officials had proposed making the new contract based on call volume, but the village resisted that. London said the board was unified in demanding $100,000 for providing fire protection to the town.

Village Trustee Pete Sidari has been a long-time member of the Albion Fire Department. He said costs are climbing for volunteer fire departments, especially with equipment and fire trucks.

The Fire Department just received a new truck that costs $668,796. The vehicle from Churchville Fire Equipment is a new triple combination pumping engine. It will replace two vehicles for the Albion Fire Department: a pumper from 1974 and a smaller truck used to respond to motor vehicle accidents. That truck from 2004 has extrication equipment.

“The equipment is more expensive than it used to be,” Sidari said after the meeting today at the Gaines Town Hall.

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Marker goes up on Gaines Basin Road in memory of deputy

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 June 2016 at 10:00 am

GAINES – This roadside sign was installed on Wednesday on Gaines Basin Road, about a quarter mile south of Route 104. The marker is a memorial for Deputy David Whittier, who was fatally injured here in 1989.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office had a reception on Monday afternoon with Whittier’s family and former colleagues to unveil the sign for the only Orleans County deputy ever killed in the line of duty.

David Whittier worked 20 years at Kodak before following his dream of being a police officer. He was hired as a full-time deputy on June 22, 1987. Whittier made many arrests for people driving while intoxicated. Ironically on Jan. 19, 1989, Whittier was on routine road patrol when he came upon an unoccupied pickup truck on Gaines Basin Road. The driver of that truck was out hunting.

While Whittier was inspecting the truck a young man who was driving drunk struck the parked pickup truck. Whittier had dove between the pickup and his patrol car. He was crushed between the two vehicles after the pickup was hit. He was then dragged about 100 feet and left for dead under the truck.

He survived the accident and remained in the hospital until April 1989. After being home for a few months, his condition did not improve. He had contracted cancer, which doctors said was trauma induced. Doctors said his immune system was too compromised due to injuries sustained from the accident. He and his family were advised that treatment was not an option and would only cause further pain and suffering.

Whittier was 41 when he died on Sept. 8, 1989. About 700 people, including police officers around the state, attended his funeral in Clarendon at the Disciples United Methodist Church.