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Orleans County

County seeks state funding for drug treatment services in jail

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2018 at 8:27 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature is seeking state funding for drug treatment services and a transition program in the county jail.

Those services would reduce the likelihood of people committing new crimes when they are released, county legislators said last week when they sought funding from the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Many of the inmates in the county jail are addicted to drugs, and those addictions lead to other criminal behavior, including larcenies, burglaries, domestic violence, driving while intoxicated and other crimes. Legislators said about 80 percent of the crimes for people in jails state-wide can be linked to drug use.

The state is funding community-based treatment programs for individuals and their families in recovery. However, county legislators said there “remains a significant gap in the treatment and support of continuum care” in the local jails.

Providing services in the jail is a “unique opportunity” when inmates are clean and sober, legislators said.

In addition to having services in the jail, the county wants to develop a comprehensive re-entry plan and transition program for inmates with addictions. That would greatly reduce the possibility of those people from reusing drugs, overdosing or committing new crimes, legislators said.

Counties in New York are asking the state to approve $12.8 million annually for the programs in jails.

The resolution approved by the Legislature is being sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Sen. Robert Ortt, and Assembly members Steve Hawley and Michael Norris.

Sheriff Randy Bower also said he has a team of trained recovery coaches who will also help inmates as they transition from the jail back to the community. Those coaches will help people with addictions attend their treatment programs and spend time “with the right people,” Bower said.

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GO Art! approves $63K in grants for arts and cultural programs

Staff Reports Posted 6 March 2018 at 3:23 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Marcy Downey performed several popular songs from the 1950s and 1960s during a concert in February 2016 at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina, including Blue Suede Shoes by Elvis Presley. The concert was part of the library’s Finally Fridays series during the winter. The series was approved again for funding from GO Art!

BATAVIA — The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council presented grants to artists and local organizations for $63,084, including for many cultural programs in Orleans County.

GO Art! has been administering the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Regrant Program for 31 years. A panel picks from applications submitted by municipalities, organizations and artists. The awards were presented last Thursday at GO Art! in Batavia.

Reach Grants for community arts groups include:

  • The Cobblestone Society for the Cobblestone Museum Arts Series — $4,431
  • Village of Holley for concerts at Canal Park — $2,100
  • Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina for Finally Fridays — $2,500
  • Village of Albion for Concerts on the Canal — $1,200
  • Lyndonville Lions Club for The Sound of Music — $2,600
  • World Life Institute for Voices from Earth: Pottery Experience in Orleans County — $3,143
  • Yates Community Library in Lyndonville for More than Just Books — $1,200
  • The Arc of Genesee Orleans for Sprout Touring Film Festival and Art Show — $2,249
  • Batavia Concert Band for its 2018 summer concert series — $4,180
  • Batavia Players for its 2018 theatrical season including the filming of Romeo and Juliet — $3,000
  • Genesee Chorale for its 2018 season — $4,431
  • Genesee Symphony Orchestra for “GSO at 71: Ready, Willing and Able” — $5,000
  • Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble for its autumn concert — $1,438
  • Gillam-Grant Community Center for Art from Every Angle — $3,748
  • Woodward Memorial Library for Everyone’s an Artist — $973
  • Town of Le Roy for Music in the Park — $776

Spark Grants are for artists teaching the process of their art in a public school setting or to adult learners:

  • Judd Sunshine at Albion Central School District for an Erie Canal song writing project — $3,300
  • Annette Taylor at Albion High School for a poetry walk called “We the People” — $1,866
  • Julie Lambert Coleman at Wolcott Street School in Le Roy to teach the art of paper and its influence on the human race — $3,400
  • Jill Pettigrew at the Batavia Senior Center to paint “Mural, Mural on the Wall” with the help of senior citizens — $4,050

Ripple Grants for projects where artists involve the community in the creative process:

  • Diana Martin to illustrate “Ellen’s Elephant” — $2,500
  • Eric Zwieg for his project, “A Killer, A Victim, A Mourner” — $2,500
  • Mandy Humphry to paint a mural in Batavia on the All State building — $2,500

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Welding students at BOCES put knowledge to work in creating lawn roller

Posted 6 March 2018 at 1:18 pm

Provided photo – Pictured from left include: Charles Bruning (Royalton Hartland), James Terwilliger (Royalton Hartland), Lance Krieger (Royalton Hartland), Franklin Laport (Royalton Hartland), Ryan Croft (Albion) and Tom Paisley (Royalton Hartland).

Press release from Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Welding students in Eric Farrell’s and John Schrock’s junior classes at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center recently incorporated many of the skills they learn in class into an interesting project. The students made a lawn roller for an Orleans/Niagara BOCES employee, Mark Standish.

“I had a sample in my shop and it involves a lot of different fabricating skills and machinery,” said Mr. Farrell. “The lawn roller ties into a lot of math the students need to learn to be a welder/fabricator, so I thought it would be a great project for them.”

The students utilized welders, saws, rollers, a CNC plasma cutter and AutoCAD, a design and drafting software to design and complete the piece. After it was finished, the Auto Body students at the center painted it a glossy black.

The Welding students were very proud of their work and said how much they enjoy their class and working on the roller. Mr. Farrell said he and Mr. Schrock like to challenge the students with having them use the fundamentals of welding to create interesting or artistic projects. In this case it was not only educational, but very beneficial for Mr. Standish.

“The students did an excellent job of building the roller and I know it will last a lifetime,” said Mr. Standish.  “I was really impressed by what they achieved.”

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County declares opioid epidemic a ‘public nuisance’ to help recover costs to taxpayers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2018 at 1:47 pm

‘This crisis has devastated families, wreaked havoc on our economy, and produced a generation of narcotic dependence.’ – Orleans County Legislature

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has declared the opioid epidemic a “public nuisance,” which legislators say is a first step in allowing the county to recoup costs to taxpayers in responding the crisis.

Many governments have declared the opioid epidemic a public nuisance, which is part of a litigation strategy to recoup the costs for providing services due the crisis, said Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer.

The epidemic has hit the county, with 43 overdoses last year, including eight fatalities.

The county normally wouldn’t be able to recoup costs for providing services, such as with a police chase. However, by declaring a “public nuisance,” the county intends to recover some of its costs.

“As a result of the opioid epidemic, costs related to healthcare, family and social services, criminal justice, addiction and rehabilitation, and many other areas significantly increased,” according to a resolution from the Legislature.

The County Legislature in September also voted to join a growing number of municipalities in a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for allegedly fueling an opioid crisis.

The Legislature retained Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, a Manhattan firm, in the lawsuit. The firm is paying any upfront costs for staffing and retaining expert witnesses, County Attorney David Schubel said.

The counties are contending the pharmaceutical manufacturers knew that opioids were effective for short-term or trauma-related pain, as well as palliative (end-of-life) care. However, the manufacturers also knew for years that opioids were addictive and subject to abuse, especially when used for more than three months.

The lawsuit contends that prescription painkillers, as well as heroin abuse, are the prime causes for an increase in overdose deaths.

“Vast amounts of prescription opioids were sold, distributed, and prescribed in the County over the past several years, a practice that continues today,” the Legislature stated in a resolution. “The selling, distributing, and prescribing of large amounts of opioids in our community has created a public health and safety hazard affecting the residents of the County. This crisis has devastated families, wreaked havoc on our economy, and produced a generation of narcotic dependence.”

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County backs Yates resolution, opposing offshore wind turbine projects

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2018 at 1:01 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has joined the Yates Town Board in opposing large-scale industrial wind turbine projects offshore in Lake Ontario.

The County Legislature last week passed its resolution against large-scale offshore wind energy development along the shores of Orleans County, which includes about 24 miles in the towns of Yates, Carlton and Kendall.

Legislator Don Allport, R-Gaines, said the state may be looking to push the projects on rural areas.

Legislator Ken DeRoller, R-Kendall, said the state should focus its renewable energy efforts on better utilizing the hydroelectric facility at Niagara Falls.

“We are sitting on the cleanest and cheapest hydropower,” he said.

The county’s resolution, opposing offshore wind in Lake Ontario, will be sent to Gov. Cuomo, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Assemblyman Mike Norris and State Sen. Robert Ortt.

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Map shows locations of broadband expansion in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2018 at 8:00 am

Courtesy of Orleans County Planning Department

Last week the state announced 154 addresses in Orleans County were approved for broadband access.

The state announced $225.5 million in broadband grants, including $36,699 to serve 154 addresses in Orleans County. The NY Broadband Program Round III grants will fund broadband infrastructure and support connections for nearly 129,000 locations statewide.

In Orleans, the grants include $12,758 for 51 addresses in Barre, $6,773 for 29 addresses in Yates, $5,670 for 21 addresses in Shelby, $4,568 for 15 addresses in the Town of Albion, $2,678 for 15 spots in Ridgeway, $2,363 for 15 addresses in Gaines, $12,600 for six sites in Clarendon, and $630 for two addresses in Carlton. Hughes Network Systems LLC will be the contractor for the work in Orleans.

Several Orleans Hub readers requested the specific addresses for the project. We were able to find the census tract numbers. The Orleans County Department of Planning created the map above, showing where the high-speed Internet will be going.

(Editor’s Note: The state announced that broadband would be going to some spots in Gaines, Ridgeway and the Town of Albion, but those locations weren’t reflected in the census data.)

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After snow day cancelled rehearsals, All County Music Fest goes on

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 March 2018 at 5:07 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Russell Kingdollar, center, of Albion and other members of the junior high chorus perform today at Albion during the All County Music Festival today, featuring the top music students from Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina.

There were about 200 students in today’s concert. The students and their directors were challenged by Friday’s snow day, which denied them a day of rehearsals.

Elizabeth Banner, a Brockport music teacher, led the junior high chorus. She also tried to get the crowd to join in singing, “Give Us Hope.” The chorus also performed, “Sing Dem Herrn,” “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,” and “(If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”

Trenton Crews of Medina and Cassie Serafin of Albion were members of the senior high band.

Dr. Paul Shewan, professor of instrumental music and conducting at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, directed the senior high band, which performed, “First Suite in Eb,” “Mt. Everest,” and “Billboard March.”

Kevin McLaud, a retired music teacher and band director at Pavilion, led the elementary school band today, which performed, “”Engines of Resistance,” “Scarborough Fair,” Funkytown,” and “Sweet Caroline.”

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State grants for broadband include 154 addresses in Orleans

Staff Reports Posted 1 March 2018 at 2:21 pm

The state has announced $225.5 million in broadband grants today, including $36,699 to serve 154 addresses in Orleans County.

The NY Broadband Program Round III grants will fund broadband infrastructure and support connections for nearly 129,000 locations statewide, according to an announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In Orleans, the grants include $12,758 for 51 addresses in Barre, $6,773 for 29 addresses in Yates, $5,670 for 21 addresses in Shelby, $4,568 for 15 addresses in the Town of Albion, $2,678 for 15 spots in Ridgeway, $2,363 for 15 addresses in Gaines, $12,600 for six sites in Clarendon, and $630 for two addresses in Carlton. Hughes Network Systems LLC will be the contractor for the work in Orleans.

The Orleans numbers pale compared to other rural GLOW counties.

In Genesee County, the state is providing $118,603 in grants for 519 addresses in Alabama, Alexander, Bethany, Elba and Le Roy.

In Livingston County, the state grants total $274,203 for 881 addresses in Groveland, Ossian, Portage, Springwater and York.

Wyoming County is the biggest recipient of the four rural counties for the grants with $727,528 for 1,031 addresses in Arcade, Castile, Eagle, Middlebury and Wethersfield.

Niagara County also was approved for $173,487 for 955 addresses in Niagara Falls, Wilson, Lockport, Somerset, Hartland and Royalton.

Niagara and Orleans officials have been working together for several years to extend rural broadband.

“Access to high-speed internet has never been more important for New York residents and businesses,” Governor Cuomo said. “By leveraging state investments with private and federal funding, we are building a stronger, smarter and more competitive New York poised to lead the nation as the first state to achieve total connectivity.”

When the New NY Broadband Program was launched in 2015, 30 percent of New Yorkers – approximately 2.42 million locations – lacked access to broadband, Cuomo said. This was most acute in the eight Upstate Regional Economic Development Council regions, where only 35 percent of New Yorkers had access.

As a result of the Program’s Round I awards and additional state-secured upgrades, broadband access was expanded by more than 2.2 million locations to 97 percent of New Yorkers. Round II awards then extended coverage to more than 80,000 locations to 98 percent of New Yorkers.

Today, with the announcement of Round III awards, the Program accomplishes its mission of statewide broadband availability, providing the last mile funding to ensure all New Yorkers have access to high-speed internet by the end of 2018, Cuomo said.

The program’s goal was to achieve statewide access to internet download speeds of at least 100 Megabits per second and 25 Megabits per second in the most rural and remote areas. After full implementation of the commitments announced, 99.9 percent of New Yorkers will have access to high-speed broadband – with almost 99 percent at speeds of 100 Megabits per second or greater. Consistent with the program’s prioritization of unserved areas, of the broadband funds deployed, nearly 90 percent of all funding was awarded to projects that will address unserved areas of the state, connecting these locations for the first time, Cuomo said in a news release.

(Editor’s note: This article was updated from an earlier version that said 131 addresses would receive broadband in Orleans County.)

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Catholic Charities now offers services in Orleans for post adoption, post guardianship

Staff Reports Posted 27 February 2018 at 8:24 am

ALBION – Catholic Charities Finger Lakes is pleased to announce the availability of a Targeted Permanency Resource Center (TRPC) based in Albion that provides post adoption and post guardianship services for Orleans County.

The program goal is to improve safety, sustain permanency, and promote the wellbeing of the whole family.  The program is offered to any post adoptive or post guardian family, and there are no income restrictions. The TRPC is funded through a NYS Office of Children and Family Services grant.

“Parenting is difficult, add to that complexity the dynamics of adoption or guardianship, and there is increased possibility for challenges and an increased need for programs and services that support families,” said Ellen Wayne, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes. “This program helps us work directly with these families to navigate the bumpy roads, and to make sure that the family remains strong as the children grow.”

The TRPC offers: Home case management, assessments, monthly support groups, advocate, referrals, educational support and workshops, individualized support, linkages to services for treatment of trauma, assistance to local resources unique to client needs, parent training, peer support, mentoring, navigation for cross-system needs, counseling and respite care.

If you are interested in this service, please call Catholic Charities at (585) 737-0892 and ask for Emily Sorenson, or email her at

Since 1982 Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes has served Ontario, Seneca, Yates, and Cayuga counties by providing quality human service programs and by advocating for social justice. The organization work with faith communities, government, elected officials, business leaders, and other human service organizations to meet human needs and effect public policy that addresses the needs of all people.

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Orleans Dems planning March 6 forum with final 2 Democratic candidates in 27th

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 February 2018 at 10:18 am

Local party leaders will make endorsement after hearing from Nate McMurray, Nick Stankevich

Nate McMurray

ALBION – The Orleans County Democratic Party Committee will host a forum on March 6 with the final two candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement for the 27th Congressional District.

The forum will be form 7 to 9 p.m. at the QWL Building on Washington Street in Albion. The event is open to the public, including people who aren’t Democrats.

After hearing from Nate McMurray and Nick Stankevich, Democratic Party leaders from Orleans expect to endorse one of the candidates, said Jeanne Crane, party chairwoman.

Nicholas Stankevich

There were five Democrats seeking to challenge incumbent Chris Collins, a Republican from Clarence. But the following have recently dropped out of the race: Joan Seamans, owner of a photography studio in Williamsville; former Erie County Assistant District Attorney Sean B. Bunny; and engineer Thomas P. Casey of Erie County.

“There is a lot of money involved and that discourages people,” Crane said today.

McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor, has the backing of Turn 27 Blue, a coalition of left-learning grassroots groups as well as many Democratic Party leaders. McMurray currently lives just outside the 27th District. He grew up in North Tonawanda which is in the district. McMurray’s campaign noted that Chris Collins lived outside the district when he challenged John LaFalce for Congress in 1998. LaFalce was re-elected.

Since the endorsement from Turn 27 Blue, the Democratic field has narrowed with only Nick Stankevich, a businessman from Mumford in Livingston County, remaining to challenge McMurray for the Democratic line.

Stankevich, in a statement on Sunday, said he will force a Democratic Party primary.

“You deserve the freedom of a primary, and you deserve a rural candidate who lives in the district,” Stankevich said in his statement to supporters. “I’ve shown you, my neighbors, that I have a plan to beat Chris Collins come November, and it starts with you.”

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