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State approves $554,838 technology grant for Kendall schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2017 at 6:44 pm

KENDALL – The school district has been approved for a $544,838 technology grant that will boost high-speed Internet access and also allow every high school student to have a device connected to the Internet.

The state announced the funding for Kendall and 64 other school districts on Friday. The state approved $44 million for the “Smart Schools Investment Plans.” The money is part of $2 billion approved in 2014 by New York voters in the Smart Schools Bond Act. The funding is “aimed at reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century,” Gov. Cuomo said on Friday.

Kendall school leaders have been working on the “Smart Schools” plan the past two years with the State Education Department, said Julie Christensen, the school district superintendent.

Kendall’s grant has $99,034 devoted to school connectivity and $445,804 to classroom technology.

The district will have enhanced broadband and Internet access, Christensen said today.

Kendall will also be providing one-to-one technology for students in grades 7-12 as a pilot in 2017-18, beginning in September, the superintendent said.

The district will also upgrade its elementary computer lab, which will be available later this month. The district will also add laptops and iPads for grades kindergarten through 6.

“We’re pleased the funding has finally become available to access technology hardware and software to ensure our students are prepared for 21st Century learning,” she said.

Cuomo said the state will use the funding to equip students with the skills they need to thrive and succeed in the global economy, and close the “digital divide” in hundreds of schools across the state.

With the Smart Schools Act, many school districts are investing in technology such as computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity, Cuomo said. This technology helps students to learn at their own pace, expands access to advanced courses and interactive curriculum, and enhances communication between parents and teachers.

“The Smart Schools Bond act has played a critical role in expanding educational opportunity by helping schools modernize outdated classrooms,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This funding ensures that all of New York’s students –no matter their zip code—have access to the technology that has become so essential to modern education by preparing them to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.”

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Fire destroys home in Murray on Peter Smith Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 January 2017 at 11:15 am


Photos by Tom Rivers

MURRAY – Firefighters battle a house fire this morning at 2465 Peter Smith Rd. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 9:45 a.m.


The house is owned by Terry Bliss and his wife Cookie. Mr. Bliss said he had put firewood in an outdoor stove and was taking a shower when his wife told him the house was on fire.

Bliss and his wife both made it out safely.

“Houses can be replaced, lives cannot,” he said.

The Bliss family has lived in the house for 31 years. They had the stove for 25 years and had not experienced any problems from the stove before. The stove is behind the garage. The stove heats up coils and a 350-gallon water tank.

Bliss is well known in the Kendall community. He is a past president of the Kendall Lions Club and also served as a Lions district governor.


Fire officials at the scene said manpower was an issue this morning. Several departments had to be called for mutual aid. Fancher-Hulberton-Murray, Holley, Albion, Clarendon, Kendall and Carlton all sent firefighters to the scene.




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Kludt again tops NY in corn yields

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 December 2016 at 10:10 pm
Photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from Aug. 3 shows a field of corn while the sun is setting in Gaines.

Photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from Aug. 3 shows a field of corn while the sun is setting in Gaines.

KENDALL – Matt Kludt from the Kludt Brothers Farm in Kendall is a repeat champion in New York’s annual corn yield contest.

Kludt recorded a yield of 298.5 acres in the No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated Class. The winning entry was grown with Pioneer seeds, P0843AM, the National Corn Growers Association announced today.

Kludt also won the title last year with 319.74 bushels per acre. Kludt also had the second biggest yield in 2016 at 264.55 bushels.

“The contest provides farmers more than just an opportunity for friendly competition; it generates data that impacts future production practices across the industry,” said Brent Hostetler, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques first developed by contest winners grow into far-reaching advances, helping farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations.  Our contest emphasizes innovation both from growers and technology providers, thus enabling us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber.”

Kludt and other state and national winners will be invited to the 2017 Commodities Classic in San Antonio. For more on the contest, click here.

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OC Cuisine blog connects community through recipes and food

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 December 2016 at 7:06 pm

Cherise Oakley shares family recipes around the county, including ‘Lorraine’s Roadkill Cabbage Casserole’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Cherise Oakley made this dish, Hardenbrook family ham loaf, with Kathy (Hardenbrook) Scroger and Mary Ellen (Hardenbrook) Seaman. It is one of 17 family recipes highlighted so far in Oakley’s blog, “Orleans County Cuisine.”

Photos by Tom Rivers: Cherise Oakley made this dish, Hardenbrook family ham loaf, with Kathy (Hardenbrook) Scroger and Mary Ellen (Hardenbrook) Seaman. It is one of 17 family recipes highlighted so far in Oakley’s blog, “Orleans County Cuisine.”

KENDALL – Cherise Oakley wants to help build a stronger community in Orleans County, and she thinks family recipes are a leading ingredient to enriching relationships.

Oakley started a blog, Orleans County Cuisine, in September and is up to 17 features on cherished family recipes including the Hardenbrook ham loaf, the Cooper family’s collard greens and smoked turkey butt, and the Grabowski’s pierogis.

Oakley met with Kathy Scroger and Mary Ellen Seaman last month to make the ham loaf. They used the kitchen at the Morton Baptist Church.

Oakley shares the recipe on her blog, with some cooking tips and background on the dish. She does it for the 17 entries so far.

“There is nothing better to bring people together than food,” said Oakley, 42, of Kendall.

Many of the recipes have been closely guarded by families for generations. But Oakley is finding families want to share them – with the community.

Mary Ellen Seaman and Kathy Scroger work together on making the Hardenbrook family ham loaf at the Morton Baptist Church.

Mary Ellen Seaman, left, and Kathy Scroger work together on making the Hardenbrook family ham loaf at the Morton Baptist Church.

The Hardenbrook ham loaf has been a Christmas breakfast tradition for that family for more than 70 years.

Mary Ellen (Hardenbrook) Seaman and Kathy (Hardenbrook) Scroger shared the dish with Oakley and her readers. Click here to see it.

Scroger and Seaman are cousins. (Oakley also is related to them.) The cousins also usually make the ham loaf around Thanksgiving and deliver the meals to the VA in Batavia.

“I want to share some of the stories and some of the history,” Oakley said about the recipes. “We learn about life in Orleans County and some of the folklore.”

She is developing deeper relationships already with the families willing to share their treasured recipes.

The ham loaf has been a Hardenbrook Christmas tradition for more than 70 years.

The ham loaf has been a Hardenbrook Christmas tradition for more than 70 years.

Oakley, the daughter of Charlie Nesbitt and the late Dema (Sam) C. Daley, had a family connection to the Hardenbrooks. Now she has a shared experience in the kitchen, making the ham loaf with Scroger and Seaman. Oakley also had the ladies write out the recipe in their own hand-writing.

Oakley wants to highlight local foods and use local ingredients as much as possible. She highlights Bannister Beef (Exselsior Farms) in Kent, B & C Christ Farms in Kent where she is a member of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and Miller’s Bulk Food & Bakery in Medina, where she buys many spices and Polish sausage. (For the Hardenbrook ham loaf, she bought the ground ham and pork from the Alabama Holley Farm Market.

“This has helped me to eat more sustainably and fresher,” Oakley said about the blog and the push for local ingredients.

Provided photo: Vickie (Cooper) Elsenheimer showed Cherise Oakley how to make collard greens with smoked turkey butt.

Provided photo: Vickie (Cooper) Elsenheimer showed Cherise Oakley how to make collard greens with smoked turkey butt.

One of her entries has a whimsical title, “Lorraine’s Roadkill Cabbage Casserole.”

Her mother-in-law, Lorraine Oakley, is well known among friends and family for retrieving cabbage that falls from trucks that hits bumps on the road around Orleans County.

Lorraine will create cabbage casseroles with Polish sausage, ground beef, chopped cabbage, one diced red pepper,  one diced yellow onion and other ingredients. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Oakley works at the College at Brockport as a secretary in the English department. She is also a graduate student studying creative writing. Her blog started  as part of an independent study on professional blogging.

The blog is a chance to hone her writing skills, and learn more about her family and the agricultural bounty in Orleans County.

“This blog is a rediscovery of my extended farming family throughout the county, the land, and above all, the food that keeps us all together,” she writes on her blog.

“Join me as I investigate all that Orleans County has to offer. Let’s explore it all, from the quaint roadside stands where you drop your quarters in the box for fresh sweet corn, to the well-established farm markets where you pick up homemade jams, my favorite sweet heat pickles and beautiful produce.”

Anyone with a family recipe to share and contact Oakley through her blog.

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Karl Driesel of Kendall opens new woodworking site in his hometown

Photos by Tom Rivers Karl Driesel is pictured inside Orleans Millworks at a new 5,884-squarefoot building that opened in July at 1750 Kendall Rd.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 December 2016 at 9:45 am

KENDALL – From his boyhood days at his father’s lumber business in Albion, Karl Driesel has loved wood.

He enjoys taken a rough piece of lumber and turning it into railings, mouldings, hardwood floorings, and other useful purposes.

“You can turn it into something beautiful with the right materials,” Driesel said Monday at Orleans Millworks.

Driesel, 30, has had a woodworking business since 2009. He was working out of his home until committing to building a new 5,884-square-foot shop and showroom at 1750 Kendall Rd. Construction started in February, and Driesel moved his business to the site in July.

Driesel wanted the building to blend in with the town. The building is green and tan, and inside the showroom features many different types of wood species. Driesel works with about 20 different types of wood.

Driesel wanted the building to blend in with the town. The building is green and tan, and inside the showroom features many different types of wood species. Driesel works with about 20 different types of wood.

It is a prominent building on Kendall’s main road. Driesel works with customers mainly between Buffalo and Rochester, serving residential, commercial, and wholesale markets often working directly with homeowners and contractors.

The site in Kendall proved ideally located between the two major markets, and Driesel also wanted to be be close to his house and help his hometown.

Driesel graduated from Morrisville State College, earning degrees in wood products technology and business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship.

For three years he was teaching at Morrisville, making a 2 ½-hour trip two to three times a week. He taught in the wood science department and showed students how to make cabinets.

Driesel last year decided to focus solely on his own business. He purchased Medina Millworks from the Graber family – Jerome, Matthew, Stephen and Phillip. That acquisition has boosted Driesel’s business, expanding his customer base and giving him more access to modern woodworking equipment.

“There is zero waste from the manufacturing process,” Driesel said. “Wood shavings are marketed as livestock bedding, and wood scraps become firewood.”

Diesel gives Scouts from Barre a demonstration on woodworking.

Diesel gives Scouts from Barre a demonstration on woodworking.

Driesel has one full-time employee. They can manufacture any profile of moulding. If they have a sample of wood, Orleans Millworks can find a match from 1,800 profiles in the business’s library, Driesel said.

Most of the lumber he uses comes from the northeastern U.S., but some species come from as far as Maine and Oregon, he said.

Driesel was an active Boy Scout and earned his Eagle rank, one of seven in the Driesel family to earn that distinction. On Monday, he welcomed a group of Scouts from Barre to see the wood shop. He demonstrated how rough lumber is turned into smooth baseboards. (Driesel’s uncle Karl Driesel is one of the leaders of the Scout troop in West Barre.)

Driesel’s father, the late Joe Driesel, also was an Eagle Scout. Karl keeps his father’s hammer in the shop “as a constant reminder that he is watching over always.”  He also keeps a flag on the property in tribute to his father’s 23 years in the Army.

Driesel said he is committed long term to the business and appreciates the backing from the community.

“I would like to thank my family, friends, church, and community members who have worked tirelessly to help make this project a success, and the Town of Kendall for understanding my vision and for their unwavering support of local business,” he said.


Driesel does another demonstration for Scouts, showing how lumber is turned into smooth baseboard.

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Kendall community, Santa join for tree lighting

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 8 December 2016 at 8:26 pm


Photos by Kristina Gabalski

KENDALL – Tony Cammarata, the Kendall town supervisor, is joined in the gazebo by Santa, two elves and Mrs. Claus (blocked from view) for the Kendall Community Tree Lighting Ceremony on Wednesday evening.

The event continued at the Kendall Fire Hall with music from the Kendall Community Band, cocoa and cookies.


Preston Manners, a second grader at Kendall Elementary, has a chat with Santa during the Supper with Santa program at Kendall Elementary School. The supper was held prior to the Kendall Community Tree Lighting Ceremony and included pizza, a drink and a cookie in addition to the opportunity to speak with the man in red.


Four -year old Bryson Shuler enjoyed an opportunity to make his Christmas wishes known to Santa.


Vinnie Flow IV, 8 months old, was decked out in his First Christmas Santa garb on grandma’s lap during the Supper with Santa program. Grandma is Barb Flow, a member of the Kendall Town Board.


Members of the Kendall Elementary Choir sing carols following the lighting of the community tree at the gazebo in the Kendall Community Park.


The Orleans County Sheriff Department’s new canine, Otto, was in attendance at the Kendall tree lighting.  He was accompanied by Deputy Jeff Cole and Cole’s two-year old son, Logan. Otto came from Holland in mid-October and was obtained by the Sheriff’s Department through Upstate Canine in Hamlin.

Sheriff Randy Bower said donations from the community made the acquisition of Otto possible.  Otto is ready to serve the Department on tracking jobs.

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Kendall Elementary students perform ‘Aladdin Kids’

Provided photo: Kendall Elementary students perform a dance during their production of “Aladdin Kids.”

Posted 30 November 2016 at 11:03 am
Chris Nettles (Aladdin) and Megan Gates (Jasmine) sing a song together.

Chris Nettles (Aladdin) and Megan Gates (Jasmine) sing a song together.

Press Release, Kendall Central School

KENDALL – The week of Nov. 14 was full of music and dancing in the Kendall Elementary Auditorium as the Kendall Elementary Chorus put on their production of “Aladdin Kids” for their peers and families.

Three performances occurred that week, with students filling the roles of actors, dancers, chorus, stage hands, sound engineers and lighting crew.

The musical was based on the 1992 Disney film “Aladdin” and adapted for a student production on stage.

The Kendall production was directed by Kendall Elementary Music Teacher Jeremy Rath, and many Kendall faculty and staff members and parents helped create the sets, props and costumes.

The students were successful in entertaining their audiences all week. Congratulations to everyone involved on a job well done!


From left, Megan Gates (Jasmine), Seth Pray (Royal Guard), Johnathan Plucknette (Sultan), Jimmie Swift (Royal Guard), Louie Conte (Jafar) and Casey Gardner (Iago) act out a scene from “Aladdin Kids.”


From left, Jimmie Swift (Royal Guard), Casey Gardner (Iago), Louie Conte (Jafar) and Leigha Zugehoer (Genie) act out a scene from “Aladdin Kids.”

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Kendall named to 2016 list of best high schools by U.S. News & World Report

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Kendall Jr./Sr. High School recently received a significant change to its exterior, as well as many interior upgrades.

Posted 29 November 2016 at 10:35 pm

Press Release, Kendall Central School

KENDALL – Kendall Junior/Senior High School was named on the 2016 list of America’s Best High Schools as determined by U.S. News & World Report.

According to the publication’s website, the “2016 Best High Schools rankings awards the top 6,517 public high schools with gold, silver and bronze medals, indicating their level of college readiness.” Schools received these medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. All results were based on data from the 2013-14 school year.

Kendall received a bronze medal for student performance on state exams. Kendall students performed better than the state average on state reading and math proficiency tests, with Kendall’s disadvantaged students also performing better than the state average.

In this evaluation, disadvantaged students were defined as black, Hispanic and low-income. With a total enrollment of 366 students, 12 percent of Kendall students were classified as minorities and 39 percent of all students were classified as economically disadvantaged (eligible for free or reduced-price meals).

Based on state test results, 78 percent of Kendall students were proficient in math and 94 percent were proficient in English. Seventy-seven percent of disadvantaged students were proficient on these exams compared to 83 percent of non-disadvantaged students who were also proficient on these exams.

Kendall graduation rates met or exceeded the national standard. The graduation rate at Kendall was 92 percent. U.S. News & World Report calculated a “College Readiness Index,” based on Kendall students’ participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams. Twenty-three percent of Kendall students participated in an AP course, with most students taking, on average, one AP exam.

For more information on Kendall’s ranking on the U.S. News & World Report list, visit

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Kendall Community Band performs in benefit for Food Cupboard

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 23 November 2016 at 9:03 am


Photos by Kristina Gabalski

KENDALL – Members of the Kendall Community Band performed a benefit concert Tuesday evening in support of the Kendall Food Cupboard. The concert was held in the auditorium of the Jr./Sr. High School.

This photo shows the trumpet section with lead by Dave Warren. They played the “The Toy Trumpet,” by Raymond Scott and Robert Longfield.

The concert was free, but those attending were asked to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Cupboard.


“We appreciate you coming out,” band director Lori Cyr told the audience. “We’ve been playing together for about four years. We play at local events and nursing homes. We would like to grow in the future.”


Tuesday evening’s program included a mix of patriotic, swing and Broadway music. Cyr said pieces such as “The Blue and the Gray” and “Armed Forces Salute” were chosen to honor veterans.


Those attending Tuesday’s concert brought non-perishable food items to be donated to the Kendall Food Cupboard.



The concert was held at the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School.  Concert goers had a chance to see the newly renovated entry/atrium which is now finished. It features an illuminated Kendall schools “K.”

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County supports effort to reduce speed limit by Kendall Jr./Sr. High School

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 17 November 2016 at 8:15 am

KENDALL – The Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday joined growing effort to have the speed limit reduced in front of the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School.

Legislator Ken DeRoller, R-Kendall, spoke to members of the Kendall Board of Education on Wednesday evening after the Legislature’s session earlier that day.

“It’s a major safety concern,” DeRoller told the Board of Education.

He said he and Legislator John DeFillipps, R-Clarendon, received a petition with 358 signatures from Kendall residents, seeking a speed limit reduction by the school.

“The Orleans County Legislature supports a safer road with a reduced speed limit and a double line,” DeRoller said.

The Legislature passed a resolution asking the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit from the current 50 miles per hour on Route 18 in front of the school.

The Legislature also asked the DOT to eliminate the passing zone in the area and have double solid line striping on Route 18 from Route 237 to Norway Road.

“We are in the fight with you to get these changes,” DeRoller said.

Kendall Town Board members on Tuesday evening approved a resolution in support of the change. DeRoller said he hoped the Kendal Lions Club and the LEO Club at the high school would also write letters in support of the lower speed limit.

Board President Nadine Hanlon said Assemblyman Steve Hawley is “on board to get the speed limit reduced.” She said Hawley has already approached the New York State DOT, which is opening a former study done on the site.

“We will continue to pursue the issue,” Hanlon said.  “We appreciate the letters.”

School leaders plan to meet with DeRoller and Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata to compile all letters in support of the change. The package will then be sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, state lawmakers, and the DOT commissioner.

In other business, the Board of Education approved the creation of an Elementary School Honor Society.  Elementary principal Sharon Smith said the Kendall Elementary Student Council has been gathering information to determine criteria for membership.

“They think (inductees) have to be all 100’s,” Smith said of the students, who want to set the bar high for membership, but she noted tongue-n-cheek, “We are trying to temper them a little.”

Smith said it is likely sixth-graders will be the first inducted, perhaps during ceremonies in February. Fifth-graders would be inducted at the end of the school year and then inductions would be held in a regular cycle.

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