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Gaines

Gaines cuts town taxes by 9 percent

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2016 at 7:50 am

However, fire protection rate sees big increase in 2017

GAINES – The Town Board approved the 2017 budget on Wednesday that reduces taxes by 8.5 percent, with the town-wide tax rate dropping from $3.90 per $1,000 of assessed property to $3.37.

Property owners outside the Village of Albion will see their tax rate fall from $4.67 to $4.19.

The town will collect less in taxes to support the town’s general and highway funds. This is the second straight budget residents are getting a reduction. The tax levy, what the town collects in taxes, has decreased from $279,500 in 2015 to $268,500 in 2016 to $245,550 in the next budget. That’s a $33,950 decrease over two years, or a tax cut of 12.1 percent.

Town Supervisor Carol Culhane said the Town Board and department heads have worked hard to bring down taxes for residents.

“We have a great team here,” she said during Wednesday’s Town Board meeting.

One resident, Bob Nashburn, thanked the board for a tax reduction.

“I congratulate you guys,” Nashburn told the board during a public hearing on the budget. “For 39 years my taxes went up, up, up.”

Gaines was able to reduce taxes partly by using more fund balance or money from its reserves. In 2016, Gaines used $9,917.60 in fund balance. In 2017, the town will use $28,773.80.

The town also is benefitting from a big increase in assessments, fueled by Intergrow Greenhouses.

The town’s assessed value is up 7.4 percent or by $8,593,053, going from $116,551,683 in 2016 to $125,144,736 for 2017.

Residents outside the village will see an increase in their fire protection rates, raising those rates from 32 cents to 71 cents per $1,000 of assessed property.

In the 2016 budget, Gaines paid the Village of Albion $35,305 for fire protection. In 2017, that cost is up to $90,000.

Overall spending in the budget – 10 water districts, general and highway funds – will increase from $1,289,469 to $1,334,643.

Culhane said the board is looking at a capital improvement project at the Town Hall. Gaines received a $75,000 state grant for energy-efficiency projects. Culhane said the building will likely be insulated with new windows, and an enclosed porch area at the front of the building.

The town is working on the scope of the project and expects to seek bids for the work in the spring with the project to be completed in the fall. Culhane said the town has been setting aside funds for building improvements and could spend $50,000 from its own money for the improvements.

The Town Hall opened in 1991, and Culhane said there hasn’t been many changes to the site since then.

“It has held up quite well, but we all agree it is not energy efficient,” Culhane said.

Used books are money-maker for Cobblestone Museum

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2016 at 11:12 am

Former Voting House has become popular spot at historic site in Gaines

Photos by Tom Rivers: The former Voting House in Hamlin was moved to the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines in 1999. The Voting House was built in 1909 by the Monroe County Board of Elections. Monroe County made many of the voting houses that were placed in voting districts in Monroe.

Photos by Tom Rivers: The former Voting House in Hamlin was moved to the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines in 1999. The Voting House was built in 1909 by the Monroe County Board of Elections. Monroe County made many of the voting houses that were placed in voting districts in Monroe. The gray tote in the lower right is a spot to place donated books.

GAINES – Twenty years ago the Hamlin town historian offered the community’s old Voting House to the Cobblestone Museum Hamlin had a local history museum but it went defunct and the Voting House was available.

Bill Lattin, the museum’s director at the time, didn’t think there was room at the museum for the small building. But Lattin kept thinking about the Voting House. He knew there used to be some in Orleans County, but they had vanished from the landscape.

Sue Bonafini, the volunteer coordinator for the museum, restocks books inside the Voting House.

Sue Bonafini, the volunteer coordinator for the museum, restocks books inside the Voting House.

The museum also had an annual used book sale on the Fourth of July weekend. It was always a chore to set up for the book sale, and to put leftovers back into storage.

Lattin thought the Voting House would be a good fit as a permanent location for used books. In 1999, the Hamlin and Gaines highway departments moved the building to the museum.

It’s behind the brick house, next to the Crosby’s gas station. The Voting House was cleaned up and repainted to resemble its original colors.

It also is stocked with books, and is popular in the community. Hardcover books sell for $1 and paperbacks are 50 cents. A metal box is mounted inside the site and people pay on the honor system.

Last year the used book sale raised $1,000 for the museum. It generated $550 in sales through the end of August.

“I originally didn’t think we had room for it,” Lattin, now retired as museum director, said today. “But it’s been a nice little addition for the community.”

The Cobblestone Museum has donated books on the shelves in the former Voting House.

The Cobblestone Museum has donated books on the shelves in the former Voting House.

There are two plastic garbage totes by the voting house for people to donate books. Museum volunteers go through them and organize by topics.

Two volunteers, R.J. Bannan and Erica Wanecski, have been instrumental in keeping the Voting House replenished with books this year, said Sue Bonafini, the museum’s volunteer coordinator.

“We get really good merchandise,” she said.

Popular authors such as Stephen King, Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts are quickly snatched up, and many classics also are popular, as well as coffee table books and the latest best-sellers. (On Wednesday, I bought “The Boys in the Boat” – the story of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team.)

The used book sale is open during regular museum hours, and often later. Bonafini noted many of the sales happen after hours.

She thanked the community for donating their books, and the customers for buying them on the honor system.

For more on the museum, click here.

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Sidewalk added at intersection of 98, 104

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2016 at 3:57 pm
090816_sidewalk2

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

090216_ConnieMosher

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.

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