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National Guard working to fight flooding in Kendall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2017 at 1:07 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – There are about 20 members of the National Guard from Rochester working in Kendall today, placing sandbags along the shoreline.

This photo shows a group adding sandbags to a property on Ed Rose Shores. Many Kendall residents on this stretch of road have lost several feet of their backyards in the past two weeks to the lake, which is about 2 feet above normal. The northerly winds are also sending waves to the shoreline, overpowering some break walls and chewing away the soil.

A lakeshore flood warning remains in effect until 8 p.m. today for Orleans and Niagara counties.

The National Guard also had 20 people in Kendall on Saturday and may double its presence on Monday with 40 Guardsmen.

Kendall has filled about 25,000 sandbags in the past two weeks. Warren Kruger, the town highway superintendent, said they have been successful in some spots as temporary protection from the lake.

The town has been dropping pallets of sandbags for lakeshore residents. The National Guard is then lugging the sandbags in place by the shore.

Kruger, the town highway superintendent, said the assistance from the National Guard has been “huge” in getting the 50-pound sandbags in place this weekend.

Kruger also praised the 50 to 75 town residents who have been volunteering this weekend, filling sandbags in the highway garage. They filled 3,600 sandbags on Saturday and are doing 800 an hour today.

Because the backyards are so muddy, in many places it’s too difficult to get in machinery to help move the sandbags close to the lake. The Guardsmen either carried them or used wheelbarrows.

This backyard on Knapp Shores has been getting pummeled with waves this morning. The Guardsmen put about 50 sandbags in larger bags to help ward off the waves. The larger bags have been donated by farmers who used them for seed, feed or fertilizer.

A Guardsman stands on pallets while waiting for more sandbags. This homeowner has lost several feet of property in the past few days.

The National Guard works together to get the sandbags in place in Kendall.

The National Guard arrived about 10 a.m. in a caravan of Humvees. Kruger, the highway superintendent, greets them on Crandall Avenue by the highway garage.

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Lakeshore flood warning extended until Sunday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2017 at 6:22 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Bald Eagle Creek Marina works to get sandbags in place on Friday during a downpour. The marina is trying to protect its docks and land from the high waters.

A lakeshore flood warning, which expired at 2 a.m. today, has been extended to Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m., the National Weather Service in Buffalo said.

The flood warning was upgraded from a flood watch for Orleans and Niagara counties. The Weather Service said the high lake levels, plus moderate to strong northwest winds, will result in increased flooding and shoreline erosion.

The National Guard was in Kendall today working with volunteers and the Kendall Highway Department to fill about 3,000 sandbags.

Volunteers are welcome to assist the Highway Department beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The group will work on the sandbags at the highway garage on Crandall Avenue.

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Fighting to save their land

Photos by Tom Rivers: Workers and volunteers put sandbags near the docks at Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall as Lake Ontario creeps closer.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2017 at 9:14 am

Bald Eagle Marina, with help from community, tries to ward off waves

KENDALL – Bald Eagle Marina has lost more than 350 to 400 feet of beachfront property to Lake Ontario in the past two weeks.

The marina, which is working to open a restaurant and expand facilities for boaters and the community, is in survival mode from the devouring water.

“We’ve lost an immense amount of land,” Susan Oschmann, Bald Eagle general manager, told a contingent of officials on Friday. “The docks could be next.”

The marina has lost about 350 to 400 feet of beachfront property. The marina set one-ton sand bags in front of the docks on Friday. It received permission from the DEC on Friday to put in a wall of rocks.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, State Sen. Robert Ortt, and representatives from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Congressman Chris Collins stopped by the marina on Friday, part of a tour of the shoreline damage in Niagara, Orleans and Monroe counties.

They were able to expedite a permit for Bald Eagle to put in a wall of rocks to help protect the docks.

The lake is nearly 2 feet above average, and has been pounding the shoreline, chewing away property.

Many southshore residents in the three counties have seen their backyards vanish.

Backhoes work to fill big sandbags to provide added protection for the marina on Friday.

Oschmann said the marina’s neighbors have helped ward off waves. Bald Eagle and its friends placed one-ton sandbags along what used to be the start on a beach. A typical sandbag holds about 40-50 pounds of sand.

Local farmers donated large seed and fertilizer bags that hold about a ton of sand. Kludt Farms, Bob Wilson of Locust Grove Farm and others donated bags to hold the sand. Kludt was at the shoreline in the driving rain and with the crashing waves, setting the big tubs of sand in place on Friday.

Warren Kruger, the Kendall highway superintendent, is amassing photos of a chewed up shoreline.

Even residents who had breakwalls are losing land. The waves splash in the back yards and “back wash erosion” eats away the soil, Kruger said. Eventually, many of the breakwalls topple, after getting hit with water from both directions.

“Then it’s open season,” Kruger said about washed out stone walls.

The highway superintendent said it won’t be a short-term fight. The lake hasn’t crested yet and could stay high into the summer.

“This is going to be a couple month-long deal or longer,” Kruger said. “We’ve already lost tons of property.”

The town has delivered 21,000 sandbags to lakeshore property owners. Kruger said those sandbags can help preserve soil in the “splash zone.”

The marina has numerous sandbags in place along the edge of the water.

Crews worked feverishly to get larger sandbags in place in front of the marina’s docks to try to preserve property.

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Kendall is filling sandbags ‘basically nonstop’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2017 at 11:26 pm

Volunteers sought to help with sandbags on Saturday

Photos by Tom Rivers

KENDALL – Inmates from the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica joined the Kendall Highway Department in filling sandbags today.

The Highway Department has filled and dispersed 21,000 sandbags since April 21. The town has been filling them almost every day since April 21, from 6 a.m. to 5:30 pm. “minimum,” with Sundays off, said Warren Kruger, the Kendall highway superintendent.

“It’s basically nonstop,” he said. “We’re running a bagging operation and delivery.”

The sandbags weigh 40 to 50 pounds each. The town puts them on pallets and has been delivering them to residents along the shoreline.

Kruger said sandbags are not effective as the primary breakwall against the high Lake Ontario and its powerful waves. But the sandbags can help in the splash zone to fight “backwash erosion,” Kruger said.

The bags are 2 feet by 1 foot and it can take several hundred sandbags to make a small wall on the typical 60-foot lakefront lot, Kruger said.

Many residents are losing large chunks of their backyards to the lake.

“It’s beat up really bad,” he said about the shoreline. “Many people are losing ground, and they’re asking for more sandbags.”

Kruger said the Highway Department has been able to get out so many sandbags with the help from the inmates from Wyoming Correctional, inmates from the Orleans County Jail, and many volunteers in the community.

Bob Wilson of Locust Grove Farms directed some of his farmworkers to help with the bagging operation on Friday. Wilson also loaded one of his farm trucks with sandbags and helped deliver them to residents being battered by the waves.

Pallets of sandbags are loaded on Locust Grove Farms for delivery. Wilson, Kludt Farms and other farmers also have donated large seed and fertilizer bags for bigger sandbags. Those bigger bags can hold about a ton of sand, compared to the smaller sandbags that hold 40 to 50 pounds.

The Kendall School District put out a message to the community on Friday evening, welcoming the community to help the Highway Department on Saturday (May 6) fill sandbags. Volunteers were urged to arrive at 9:30 in the morning at the highway garage on Crandall Road. They would be provided with lunch.

Jason Hardenbrook, a Highway Department employee, picks up a sandbag. Hardenbrook said every day has been busy with the sandbags, filling them and getting them delivered to residents.

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Flood watch upgraded to flood warning for Orleans, Niagara and Monroe

Photos by Tom Rivers: The lake is getting closer to lawnchairs on Lakeland Beach Road in Kendall. This photo was taken at about 1;30 p.m. Many Kendall lakeshore residents have lost big chunks of their backyards due to high lake water levels and powerful waves in the past two weeks.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2017 at 4:28 pm

A flood watch has been upgraded to a flood warning for the southshore of Lake Ontario in Orleans, Niagara and Monroe counties.

The warning from the National Weather Service is in effect until 2 a.m. Saturday. The lake is 22 inches above normal, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Weather Service said flooding is expected in flood-prone areas along the shoreline, and the waves will erode some of the shoreline and beaches.

Workers and volunteers at the Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall try to build up protection against the encroaching lake.

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Kendall school district proposes 1% tax increase

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 4 May 2017 at 10:52 pm

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: Kendall Board of Education President Nadine Hanlon opened the public hearing on the Kendall School District’s 2017-18 budget proposal Wednesday evening.  She discussed Kendall’s graduation rate (95 percent in 2016) and the Kendall Pride initiative among the school district, the Town of Kendall and Orleans County. Hanlon also discussed the 2017-18 budget process. The priority was to, “Maintain current programs while considering the impact of enrollment decline,” Hanlon said. Currently, there are 692 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade. “We are working on that and hopefully will bring more students into the school,” she said.

KENDALL – Board of Education members and community residents learned more about the proposed 2017-2018 district budget Wednesday evening during a public hearing held in the Jr./Sr. High School library.

The proposed $17.4 million dollar budget is slightly higher (0.14 percent) than the current budget.

District Superintendent Julie Christensen said the tax levy had been unchanged since the 2014-15 budget, but the 2017-18 proposal includes a 1.0 percent increase ($46,597) in the tax levy from $4,669,245 to $4,715,842, due to state aid going down.

Christensen said taxpayers in the Town of Kendall will see a proposed tax rate of $17.17 per $1,000 assessed value. That translates to an estimated annual increase of $22 in the tax bill of property owners with a home assessed at $100,000.

State aid comprises nearly 70 percent of the total revenue for the district, with taxes raising about 27 percent.

On the expenditure side, the administrative component totals $1.5 million; the program component totals $12 million and the capital component totals $3.9 million.

Christensen said budget highlights include the district’s work to expand pre-school programs, advanced high school course options and a continuum of services.  Instructional technology is also a priority with the district looking to purchase one-to-one devices next year.

She bemoaned the continued costs of unfunded mandates – “The amount of regulations and requirements placed on school districts from state and federal governments.”

She noted that the district would have a zero levy if all mandates were completely funded.

District residents will vote on the proposed budget Tuesday, May 16. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kendall Elementary School Gymnasium.

The ballot includes Proposition 1 – the proposed $17,415,783 district budget; Proposition 2 – to allow for the purchase of transportation vehicles to replace existing vehicles at a sum not to exceed $250,000; and Proposition 3 – the election of a five-year term board of education member and a one-year term board of education member.

Incumbent Lisa Levett is seeking the five-year term.

“Kendall is very special,” Levett said. “I want to see Kendall be Kendall.” She is a life-long resident of the district.

Jason ReQua is also running and he said he is seeking the one-year term. ReQua is a Kendall native who lived in the Town of Greece when his first child was born. He and his wife decided to move back to their hometown to raise their family.

“I can’t say enough about education here in Kendall,” he said.

Board President Nadine Hanlon said she is excited about working with both Levett and ReQua. Hanlon observed that after the upcoming election, “All five of us (on the Board of Education) will be Kendall grads who went all the way through Kendall – Kindergarten through 12th Grade.”

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Family Fun Night is a hit at Kendall

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Principal Carol D'Agostino makes a balloon sculpture during the annual PTSA Family Fun Night.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 29 April 2017 at 8:43 am

Faith Shoff,  a 5th Grader, had an animal nose and whiskers painted on her face.

KENDALL – Families gathered at Kendall Elementary School on Friday evening for the annual PTSA Family Fun Night.

“It’s a night for families to come together to have fun and get information,” Kendall Elementary Principal Sharon Smith said.

PTSA President Elisa Robinson said the event was free for families (with the exception of a basket raffle).

“People are so generous,” she said of those who donated or who came to set up informational and activity booths. “It’s an opportunity for families to have a nice evening and on Monday when students come back to school, they get to pick out a free book.”

Area groups and organizations set up tables to provide information for those attending. Participants included the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, Kendall Fire Department and EMS, GCASA, YMCA, Fidelis Care, ESL students and parents, Cub Scouts, the Lego Builder Shop, and the Oak Orchard Yacht Club.

Marty Goodenbery and Cindy Ruiz offered fun, games, candy and information about the Kendall Community Food Cupboard at their table.

Kendall Elementary School Principal Sharon Smith makes cotton candy.

Jamie Cole and 1-year old Presley Cole wait patiently in the line for Mrs. D’Agostino’s balloon sculptures.

Kendall Fire Department  and EMS apparatus was parked outside the Elementary School.

Kendall Central School District Superintendent Julie Christensen helps out at the popular popcorn stand.

Members of the Kendall Elementary Student Council offered face painting and a scavenger hunt in one of the Elementary School classrooms. Fifth-grader Alliya Bills shows off the panda painted on her face. Alliya also helped out with face painting.

Students and their families shop at the book fair in the Elementary School auditorium.

A member of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department rides a patrol bicycle around the Elementary gym where informational and activity tables were set up.

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Kendall passes workplace violence protection law to help keep town employees safe

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 19 April 2017 at 10:30 am

Town officials eager to see improvements on Parkway

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: A bumblebee embraces a blossom on a flowering tree outside the Kendall Town Hall Tuesday evening.

KENDALL –  Town Board members on Tuesday evening  unanimously adopted a new Workplace Violence Prevention Policy for the town. The policy will be filed with the New York State Department of Labor and Supervisor Tony Cammarata says the town will review it on an annual basis.

“All employees are subject to the training process,” he said.

The policy is designed to meet the requirements of New York State Labor Law and defines workplace violence as any physical assault or act of aggressive behavior occurring where a public employee performs any work-related duty in the course of his or her employment. That includes all town property as well as altercations at sites where the town highway department works on projects.

The goal of the policy is to promote the safety and well-being of all people in our workplace, the policy states.

“We want to make sure employees have good, safe working conditions, as well as anyone who comes into the Town of Kendall (town property),” Cammarata said. “We want them to feel safe. We want employees who work late in the town offices to feel safe. We put a lot of thought into this process.”

Under the policy, all incidents of violence or threatening behavior will be responded to immediately upon notification.

The town’s designated contact person is Deputy Town Supervisor Margaret Lynn Szozda.

The policy includes guidelines for managing workplace altercations, general procedure, discipline and procedure for violent incidents.

In other business, Supervisor Cammarata reported that Governor Cuomo’s office has notified him that funding has been approved for the resurfacing of the Lake Ontario State Parkway.

Plans are to resurface the Parkway in Orleans County from the eastern border to Rt. 237 in Kendall. Cammarata says there is no word yet on when the paving will take place.

“Maybe by this time next year it might be resurfaced,” he said.

This past January, Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced that work will begin this summer on resurfacing the Parkway from Payne Beach Road in Parma to Rt. 19 in Hamlin – all in Monroe County.

Last summer the state announced paving west from Rt. 19 to Rt. 237 in Kendall would take place in 2018.

Local leaders in both Monroe and Orleans counties have said the entire Parkway – all the way to Lakeside Beach State Park in Carlton – needs resurfacing.  The Parkway received attention last year when it was named to the 2016 list of the Landmark Society of Western New York’s Five to Revive list.

Cammarata additionally reported on progress of the review of an emergency disaster plan for the town.

He said he met last week with Kendall School Superintendent Julie Christensen and the school’s buildings and grounds superintendent to discuss the plan.  Another meeting is set for May and will include Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower and members of the Kendall Fire Department, and Morton and Walker Fire Departments.

Cammarata said he wants a plan in place and, “ready to serve the needs of the public,” during emergency situations. He said he welcomed input from other Town Board members regarding items they would like to see on the agenda for the next meeting.

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Kendall school budget includes slight increase in spending

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 14 April 2017 at 10:12 am

KENDALL – Members of the Kendall Board of Education on Wednesday evening adopted the district’s 2017-2018 budget.

The budget of $17,415,783 will be presented to district voters May 16. The budget is up slightly from the 2016-17 budget of $17,392,234.

District officials said comments from residents who attended Wednesday’s meeting of the school board were very positive.

District Clerk Sheryl Madison said parents were pleased that the district combined its wrestling team with Holley rather than disbanding the program.

“Parents and students were there and told the Board they were grateful the wrestling program had combined and not been cancelled,” Madison said.  “It was refreshing to hear such positive comments.”

Kendall will hold a budget presentation meeting for the public at 6:30 p.m. on May 3 at the Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Library. Board of Education candidates will also be introduced that evening.

In addition to the budget, voters will elect two members of the Board of Education on May 16 – one for a five-year term and one for a year to fill the remaining term of a vacant seat on the board which expires June 30, 2018. The vacant seat will be filled immediately following the election, rather than waiting until July 1 when a new term typically begins.

Additionally, voters will see a proposition for usage of funds from the School Bus Reserve Fund on the ballot. The sum, not to exceed $250,000, is for the purchase of motor vehicles for the district including passenger buses.

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Mr. Kendall competition proves a crowd pleaser

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 9 April 2017 at 10:39 pm

Photos by Kristina Gabalski

KENDAL – Mr. Kendall Cameron Heller, left, and runner-up James Longrod are pictured at the 4th annual Mr. Kendall Pageant on Friday evening.

The popular tongue-in-cheek event is hosted by Kendall High School Senior Council and gives upperclassmen the opportunity to get out on the stage and show off their talents.

The 2017 pageant featured nine contestants – seven seniors and two juniors.  They were judged in categories including Workout Wear – won by Cameron Heller; Group Dance Number; Lip Sync – won by Joey LoSapio; Sleepwear – won by Kenny Price; Formal Wear won by Ryan Barrett (who was actually part of the crew and who interviewed the contestants); and Individual Talents – won by Miguel Aguirre.

Guest judges this year were Mr. Driesel, Ms. Mason, Creagan Maclaren (2016 Mr. Kendall) and Kari Hurlbutt.

Mr. Kendall contestants began the evening with a group dance number in their Workout Wear.

Contestant James Longrod performed the Barbie Girl Song by Aqua during the Lip Sync portion of the show.  He was assisted by crew member Ryan Barrett – riding pedal tractor.  The pair was deemed the tallest Barbie and shortest Ken ever.

Ryan Barrett poses a very specific question for contestant Jeremy Browe.

Cameron Heller made a very bold fashion statement with his Formal Wear selection.

Contestant Brandon Miller – who noted his beard sets him apart from fellow contestants – assists Ryan Barrett with his fashion accessory during the interview portion.

Contestant Joey LoSapio had the help of fellow contestants during the talent portion of the show. Joey performed a cheerleading routine.

Contestant Jacob Adams said his future plans include growing older and becoming the best sit down comedian. His talent performance featured a sit-down “stand-up comic” routine.

A highlight of the evening was the surprise prom proposal contestant Miguel Aguirre made to his, “assistant chosen from the audience,” for his magic routine during the talent portion of the pageant. Miguel’s “assistant” accepted the proposal.

Jeremy Browe chose to stage a hot dog eating contest for his talent number. He is seated on the far left side of the table. Fellow Mr. Kendall contestants also took part.

The audience gets one last look at the contestants before the announcement of winners.

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