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Health Department director says bed bugs are growing concern countywide

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 6:56 pm
Photo from New York State Department of Health: Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long. They don’t fly but can crawl rapidly.

Photo from New York State Department of Health: Bed bugs are small, flat wingless insects that are reddish-brown in color and approximately one-quarter inch long. They don’t fly but can crawl rapidly.

Holley Central School isn’t alone in battling bed bugs. The district has been in the news today after discovering bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms.

The district brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as the hallway and neighboring classrooms.

Bed bugs have a growing problem throughout Orleans County, said Paul Pettit, public health director.

“It’s definitely on the increase,” Pettit said today. “Year by year we’re getting more calls and complaints.”

The bed bugs don’t carry disease but they are a nuisance, and difficult to get rid of, Pettit said.

They are “hitch hikers” attaching themselves to clothing, backpacks, coats, sofas and suitcases.

When they are in a house, they often hide in cracks and crevices in couches, or behind beds. They feed on blood and some people may wake up with bite marks. That’s a sign they should look closer to see if there are bed bugs in their home, Pettit said.

People are transient, going to movie theaters, hotels and other public places. It ‘s no surprise the bed bug complaints are on the rise, Pettit said.

He advised people to get rid of clutter, and try to keep a clean house, regularly washing bed sheets and pillow cases.

He urged people not to pick up discarded furniture by the curb. That furniture might be infested.

“This is an issue people need to be aware of,” Pettit said. “Anybody can get them.”

The New York State Department of Health issued these recommendations to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home:

• When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.

• Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.

If you have bed bugs, the Health Department recommends these actions:

• Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.

• Move your bed away from walls or furniture.

• Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.

• Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.

• Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.

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Holley school takes action after finding bed bugs in 2 elementary classrooms

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 January 2017 at 9:59 am

HOLLEY – The school district has found bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms recently. It brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as adjacent rooms and the hallway.

“We’re staying on top of it,” said Robert D’Angelo, the school district superintendent. “At this point it looks like we’re in good shape.”

Karri Schiavone, the elementary school principal, sent a notice to parents urging them to be on the look out for the bugs.

They are “hitch hikers” and can attach to student backpacks, coats and clothes, and move from one location to another, D’Angelo said.

The district has advised people to wash and dry clothes on the highest heat for 60 minutes. That heat is effective at killing bed bugs and their eggs.

Clothing, linens and other items that cannot be washed should be dried on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, the district suggested.

Schiavone told parents in a letter that two live bed bugs and two dead ones were discovered. D’Angelo said district staff continue to be looking closely for any of the bugs. He urged the community to also take precautions.

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Reward for reading in Holley: limo ride

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 19 January 2017 at 3:30 pm
Provided photo: Students received a limo ride on Wednesday as a reward for leading their grade levels in reading.

Provided photo: Students received a limo ride on Wednesday as a reward for leading their grade levels in reading.

HOLLEY – Winners of the Holley Elementary Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) program were treated to a very special lunch Wednesday – a chauffeured limo ride to the Brockport McDonald’s.

The PARP program is designed to encourage kids to read with their parents on a regular basis.

This year’s program began Dec. 5 with students reading either on their own or with a partner. Minutes spent reading were tracked through Jan. 6 and two winners from each grade level were announced during an assembly Jan. 13.

This year’s winners are Ian Bannister, Jayden Rivera, Julianna Church, Caiden Murray, Kaitlyn Dodson, Felicity Virgilio, Dylan Warner, Brianna Pellegrino, Addison Probst, Parker Tower, Dawson Arnold, Hailey Gonzalez, Alyssa Armstrong, Allison Merle, Kayla Neale, Matthew Bull, Sarah Kelly and Casey Onisk.

The annual event is sponsored by the PTSA to encourage students to enjoy reading.

The students were recognized during an assembly on Jan. 13.

The students were recognized during an assembly on Jan. 13.

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Holley school officials discuss starting target shooting team

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 18 January 2017 at 9:52 am

HOLLEY – The Board of Education discussed forming a team for students to compete in target shooting.

Board member Melissa Ierlan during the Tuesday board meeting brought up having Holley join NYS HS Clay Target League.

Ierlan said she was approached by the Holley Rod & Gun Club regarding formation of a club/team for students.

Ierlan noted the Orleans County Clay Crushers youth shooting team, which includes trap, skeet and sporting clays shooting. She noted that trap shooting trap shooting is a long-standing Olympic sport which became popular as a high school sport nationally in the U.S. in the year 2000.

Teams would consist of five members, she said.  Both boys and girls in grades 6-12 would be eligible.

Ierlan said the club would provide an opportunity for, “kids who may not be served by other sports or academic clubs. It would teach teamwork as well as safety with firearms.”  Participants would take part in a safety course required for hunting licenses as well as an additional safety course after they join. Certified firearms instructors would serve as coaches.

“There are 12 schools involved in New York State,” Ierlan said. “It is growing every year.”

The Holley Rod & Gun Club would help to cover the cost of ammunition and targets, Ierlan said. That would keep the cost for students to between $50-$75. Participants would have to have their own transportation to the Rod & Gun Club and their own firearm to participate.

Ierlan said she has contacted Kendall School Board President Nadine Hanlon regarding the opportunity. The two school districts have been sharing some extracurricular programs.

“The idea sounds awesome,” said Holley Middle School/High School Principal Susan Corey. She said she would like additional information.

Superintendent Robert D’Angelo requested that the district consult with its insurance carrier regarding whether or not creation of the club would necessitate changes in the district’s liability insurance.

During the discussion, Middle School/High School assistant principal/athletic director Dan Courtney explained that clay target shooting is not a state-sanctioned school sport, meaning the group would be considered a school club rather than a school sports team.  He mentioned bass fishing is a sanctioned school sport, a sport which the Kendall Central School District offers students.

Cory said there are Holley students interested in a fishing team.

In other action, the Holley Board of Education on Tuesday evening approved having school principals set up Twitter accounts.

Board vice-president Robin Silvis made the proposal for Cory and Elementary Principal Karri Schiavone to set up accounts, saying Twitter is “a very good vehicle” for sharing information, particularly positive news.

(This article was updated from an earlier version to clarify trap shooting is a long-standing Olympic sport.)

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Murray doesn’t reappoint outspoken critic to Planning Board

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2017 at 1:39 pm

Robert Miller named to fill vacancy on Town Board

MURRAY – Joe Sidonio, an outspoken critic of the Murray town government in the past year, was not reappointed to his position on the Town Planning Board last week.

Sidonio also represented Murray on the Orleans County Planning Board for more than a decade. But that tenure came to an end because he wasn’t backed by the Town Board to return in that role.

The Town Board approved a list of appointments last Thursday during an annual organizational meeting. The board chose to appoint Elaine Berg to the Town Planning Board and as Murray’s representative on the Orleans County Planning Board.

Berg had been serving on the Zoning Board Appeals. The ZBA meets infrequently and Berg, a former Holley Board of Education member, wanted a more active role with the town, said John Morriss, the Town Supervisor.

Morriss said Sidonio was not targeted by the Town Board due to his criticisms the past year. Sidonio has written frequent letters to the editor and spoken out in town meetings, questioning taxes that have exceeded the rate of inflation. He also has questioned the financials in the water districts’ budgets and suggested the town needs to work harder to safeguard the water system from any outside contamination.

Sidonio took an unusual step in forcing a primary to be on the Murray Republican Committee. He won a seat on Sept. 13.

A committee with board members Paul Hendel and Kathy Case interviewed candidates for the Planning and Zoning boards. The committee suggested Berg, Morriss said today.

(Case has since resigned from the Town Board to serve as an Orleans County elections commissioner.)

Morriss said he has had concerns about Sidonio “overstepping his bounds” as a Planning Board member.

“The committee interviewed candidates and we felt it was time for a change,” Morriss said.

Sidonio said he enjoyed being on the two planning boards. He acknowledged there has been a strained relationship with the Town Board the past year.

“The town and I have been at odds over specific issues,” he said. “I will leave it at that. I serve at their pleasure.”

With Berg moving to the Planning Board, her spot on the ZBA was filled by Bob Cone.

The Town Republican Committee also interviewed candidates to fill Case’s vacant spot on the Town Board.

Robert Miller, who is retired from the state police, was picked for the final year of the term. Sidonio said he also was interested in the position and was interviewed by the Committee (with Sidonio abstaining from that process because he was interviewed.)

The remainder of the term is only one year. The Town Board position will be up for election n November.

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Holley goes on record seeking more state AIM funding

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2017 at 4:22 pm

HOLLEY – The Village Board on Thursday joined Murray and the Albion Village Board in pressing the state to overhaul its AIM funding program, so villages and towns receive a boost in funding.

The Aid and Incentives to Municipalities program provides $715 million in aid to upstate cities, villages and towns, but 90 percent of the money goes to cities. That breaks down to $277 in aid for city residents and only $7 per capita for town and village residents.

The Village of Holley receives $17,786 in AIM funding for a village of 1,811 residents, for an average of $9.82 per village resident.

Holley has a police department, as well as street, water, sewer and other community services.

The board approved a resolution that was presented by the Orleans Hub last week in an editorial asking the governor and State Legislature to do more for villages and rural New York. More AIM funds would ease the tax burden on village residents in Orleans County, who pay some of the highest tax rates in the region.

“WHEREAS, the state’s tiny share of AIM funding for villages has put villages at a competitive disadvantage in attracting and retaining businesses and residents;

“WHEREAS, the huge disparity in AIM funding between the cities and villages is a form of state-sponsored economic discrimination, resulting in much higher tax bills for village residents and a diminished quality of life,” the resolution reads.

The Holley Village Board is sending the resolution to the governor, local state legislators, and the New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials.

Click here to see the AIM editorial on the Orleans Hub.

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Holley community appreciates book on 8 local soldiers who died in Vietnam War

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2017 at 9:41 pm
Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Author Michael Keene signs a copy of his book: Vietnam Reflections:  The Untold Story of the Holley Boys for Bev Brennan, a Holley native who lives in Brockport. Brennan said she graduated from Holley prior to the Holley Boys, but has siblings their age. Keene did, “an excellent job,” with the book, Brennan said.

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Author Michael Keene signs a copy of his book: Vietnam Reflections:  The Untold Story of the Holley Boys for Bev Brennan, a Holley native who lives in Brockport. Brennan said she graduated from Holley prior to the Holley Boys, but has siblings their age. Keene did, “an excellent job,” with the book, Brennan said.

HOLLEY – Michael Keene, author of a book on eight men from Holley who died in the Vietnam War, was thanked by Holley residents today for his effort in Vietnam Reflections: The Untold Story of the Holley Boys.  

Fantastic, the format is tremendous,” Holley/Murray historian Marsha DeFilipps said about the book, which includes profiles of each soldier and background on the war and the community in the 1960s.

Tom Totter speaks with Michael Keene during the book signing.  Totter said his wife is the niece of Ronald Sisson, one of the Holley Boys.  She was, "very moved by the book," Totter said.

Tom Totter speaks with Michael Keene during the book signing.  Totter said his wife is the niece of Ronald Sisson, one of the Holley Boys.  She was, “very moved by the book,” Totter said.

Keene was at the American Legion in Holley Saturday afternoon to sign copies of the book and speak with community members, friends and family of the eight Vietnam soldiers featured in the book.

DeFilipps said Keene did an excellent job interviewing family members of the “Holley Boys” – John P. Davis, David D. Case, Ronald P. Sisson, Howard L. Bowen, Gary E. Bullock, Gary L. Stymus, George W. Fischer Jr., and Paul S. Mandraccia.

“The families were finally ready to talk about it,” DeFilipps said. “Michael Keene brought out the best of them.”

She assisted Keene in research for the book and in contacting family members.

Keene said he spoke with 35 family members of the “Holley Boys” to compile information for the book.

“I found myself drawn to this community and immersed myself in the history of the community and the lives of the boys,” Keene said.

The village of Holley’s loss during the Vietnam War was staggering.

“It was among the worst casualty rates of any town and high school in the U.S. during Vietnam,” Keene said.

It is clear the Holley community continues to mourn.  Jerry Dowd became emotional remembering his best friend, Howard L. Bowen.

“We are so thankful that somebody would write a great book,” he told Keene. Dowd said he and Bowen shared many happy times together and that Bowen loved people. He said Bowen expressed feelings prior to leaving for the war, that he would not be coming home.

Bowen’s sister, Jane Robinson, also attended the book signing. She said the book is very good. “It’s a beautiful book,” Robinson said.

“We are very pleased to be able to host Mr. Keene today,” former village mayor and retired Holley Central School teacher John Kenney said.

Kenney knows the families of all eight soldiers. He moved to Holley in 1964 and said he taught some of the boys and many of their siblings.

“We’ve known for a long time that the proportion of the dead to the population of village was the highest in the country,” Kenney said.

“The time is right to recognize and focus on what they have done in terms of the sacrifices they made. There is a lot of emotion tied to the old Holley High School and the Vietnam boys.”

Author Michael Keene, a Vietnam War veteran and Pittsford resident, speaks to those attending a book signing for his new book about the “Holley Boys” at the American Legion Post in Holley this afternoon.

Author Michael Keene, a Vietnam War veteran and Pittsford resident, speaks to those attending a book signing for his new book about the “Holley Boys” at the American Legion Post in Holley this afternoon.

Joyce Potote of Holley attended school with many of the soldiers featured in the book.

“I went to the senior prom with Ronnie Sisson,” she remembered.

She has yet to read the book, but noted it is good to finally get the stories of the eight out. “I will probably cry when I read the book,” she said.

Deb DeFilipps is currently reading the book. She knew Paul S. Mandraccia and said the history of the Vietnam War included in the book was very interesting. She was also moved by the inclusion of individual family letters.

“It’s heart-rending,” she said. “It brings you to tears.”

The book is now available as an audio book.  “Even people who don’t like audio books like this audio book,” Keene said.  It includes ten professional voice actors and an original musical score. “I’m proud of the book, I’m really proud of the audio book,” Keene said.

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Holley looks for brownfield grant to help redevelop former Diaz site

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 13 January 2017 at 12:00 pm

Village police will add body cameras

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley will seek grant funding to help cover the cost of creating a concept plan and market study for the quadrant of the village which includes the site of the former Diaz Chemical plant.

Trustees voted Thursday evening to have the village’s grant writer, J. O’Connell & Associates, write an application for grant funding under the New York State Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program.  The grant would help with the creation of a revitalization strategy for the former Diaz site on Jackson Street and surrounding neighborhood.

Mayor Brian Sorochty said this would be step two in a process towards revitalizing the area. The village completed step one several years ago, identifying areas in the village that are underutilized or affected by negative environmental impacts.

The mayor noted the EPA is expected to start soil remediation soon at the Diaz site.

“We would work with a consultant to develop a concept plan showing re-development and a market study,” Sorochty said of the step two grant. He suggested the site potentially could be used for housing or for a business that would bring jobs to the community.

Once the plan and study are complete, the property would be targeted for tax credits making it, “more appetizing for a developer to come in,” Sorochty said.

According to the NYS Department of State website, the BOA Program provides financial and technical assistance to municipalities for turning, “dormant and blighted parcels into productive, catalytic properties.”

The mayor said he would like to look at the the entire quadrant of the village including the eight Diaz homes, which are still owned by the EPA.

“I don’t know if there is anything (regarding the grant) that can help the homes or the LDC (Village of Holley Development Corporation),” the mayor said.

The grant application is due March 1 and the village will have to work quickly to form a steering committee including representatives from the Board of Trustees, the LDC, the Planning/Zoning Board, and consultants from Bergman Associates to determine the scope of the project.  A larger committee would be formed if the village receives the grant, Sorochty said.

He explained that the grants are 90/10 matching grants, meaning 90 percent of the funds would come from the state and 10 percent from the village. The village’s portion could be in-kind labor.

“It doesn’t have to be cash out of the village coffers,” Sorochty said.

The village will spend no more than $3,000 to have O’Connell & Associates write the grant application.

Regarding the eight Diaz homes, Sorochty mentioned the village has received recent communication from the EPA regarding the agreement to transfer ownership of the homes to the village, indicating the transfer could happen before spring.  The mayor said he is not optimistic based on the history of the village’s relationship with the EPA.

“We’ve been waiting for six weeks for six months,” he told LDC member Dr. Krista Wiley, who attended the village board meeting.

Village Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti told the village board that he plans to contact Congressman Chris Collins over the issue in hopes that the new presidential administration might move the process along faster.

“There is a new outlook on the EPA,” Vendetti said, regarding the incoming Trump Administration.

In other business, Police Chief Roland Nenni reported that Village of Holley police will likely begin wearing body cameras next month.

He said police officers in the Village of Albion, where he also serves as Chief of Police, began wearing the cameras last fall.

“It has been phenomenal,” he said of the body cameras in Albion. “It’s a completely different police department once the cameras go on. There’s been a change in how we handle complaints.”

Nenni said images caught on camera are not reviewed unless there is a need, but they have been very helpful in resolving complaints quickly and easily.

Municipal Electric and Water Department Superintendent Matt Campbell reported that a few complaints continue to “trickle in” over the village’s water. In December, the village worked to address sporadic complaints of a metallic taste and smell to village water.

Tests done by the Orleans County Health Department showed the water was safe to drink and the village has been working to combat the problem through hydrant flushing and adding chlorine.

The remaining complaints, “revolve around a chlorine taste,” Campbell said. The village will begin lowering chlorine levels once the Health Department gives the OK, he said.

“We are doing our best,” Mayor Sorochty said of the village’s efforts to combat the problem.

Campbell said any residents  experiencing problems with their water can call him to have their water tested.

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Community Free Library welcomes new children’s librarian in Holley

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 11 January 2017 at 5:22 pm
Photo by Kristina Gabalski: Grace Azzolino is the new children's librarian at the Community Free Library in Holley.

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: Grace Azzolino is the new children’s librarian at the Community Free Library in Holley.

HOLLEY – A fresh new face at the Holley Community Free Library is helping to create new programming for the library’s youngest patrons.

Grace Azzolino, who received her master’s in library science degree last June, joined the Holley Community Free Library staff as children’s librarian Jan. 3.

“Things are going well,” she said of her new job. “I’m in the midst of coming up with new ideas.”

The creation of a children’s librarian position was made possible by a state grant obtained by Senator Robert Ortt, Library Director Sandra Shaw has said.

In addition to having a children’s librarian who can focus on children’s programming, the library will also start Saturday hours beginning Feb. 4.

Saturday hours will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the months of February through May, and September through December. The library will be closed on Saturdays in June, July and August.

Azzolino said Saturday, Feb. 4, is “Take a Child to the Library Day” and the library will celebrate with a special reception planned at 10 a.m. to initiate the new Saturday hours as well as welcome her as children’s librarian.  She said Senator Robert Ortt is expected to attend.

New weekday hours beginning Feb. 4 are Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.; and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Summer weekday hours will be Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.; and Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Murray passes resolution, trying to end disparity in AIM funds from state

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 January 2017 at 3:39 pm

The Murray Town Board passed a resolution on Tuesday asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to end the large disparity in AIM funding between cities and villages.

The Town Board moved on the issue on Tuesday, a day after Orleans Hub urged local municipal boards to pass resolutions about the gap in per capita funding with Aid and Incentives to Municipalities. There is a huge gap in per capita AIM funding between cities ($277 per resident on average) and villages and towns (an average of $7 per resident).

John Morriss, the Murray town supervisor, said Murray has passed similar resolutions before and wants to press the issue again.

Morriss, a Holley resident, said the village has aging infrastructure, and tries to offer a quality services with police, streets, water, sewer and other quality of life issues.

“In little Holley our waterlines are antiquated and the roads need to be fixed,” Morriss said. “We have a lot of older people and they don’t have the extra money to pay.”

The town resolution was sent to Gov. Cuomo, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and State Sen. Robert Ortt.

“We gladly passed it,” Morriss said. “If they can’t out it on the table to discuss, it will never go anywhere.”

To see the article Monday about the AIM disparity, click here.

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