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Medina school will host emergency drill on Friday
Staff Reports Posted 19 April 2018 at 10:21 am

MEDINA – Medina High School will host a large-scale emergency preparedness drill on Friday. Law enforcement, firefighters and medics will begin staging at the middle school at 11 a.m.

After a safety briefing among the participants and positioning of the team, the drill will begin no later than 12:45 p.m.

The drill will go until 2:30 p.m., with personnel rotated out. The Medina Fire Department will have a command post set up in the bus garage.

The community will see emergency vehicle traffic in the area and is asked to avoid the Medina Central School campus between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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Kendall’s proposed school budget includes school resource officer
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2018 at 8:16 am

District won’t be increasing taxes in 2018-19

KENDALL – The Board of Education approved a $17,367,477 school budget on Wednesday that will go before voters on May 15.

The budget reduces spending and doesn’t increase taxes. It also includes $100,000 for a school resource officer. Kendall will keep its security staff and wants to have a deputy from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office devoted to the school.

Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, said Kendall is seeking $50,000 in state funding to help offset the cost of the resource officer. If the district doesn’t receive the grant, Christensen said school officials still plan to have a deputy working full-time out of the district. Kendall will be the second district in Orleans County with a full-time resource officer. Medina contracts with the Medina Police Department to have an officer assigned to the school district.

Overall spending in the Kendall budget is down from $17,415,783 in 2017-18. The tax levy, what the district collects in taxes, will remain the same at $4,715,842. However, the tax rate will decrease from $17.04 to $17.02 per $1,000 of assessed property due to a boost in the tax base.

Kendall’s spending is down because it has less costs with BOCES next year, and also will be spending less in transportation.

In addition to the school resource officer, Kendall is adding a Lego team in the FIRST Lego League (there will be an information meeting May 10 at 6 p.m.). The Lego teams use robotics to program a robot to do tasks. Kendall also has added a trap shooting team this spring.

Christensen and the Board of Education will go over the budget during a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on May 2 at the Kendall Jr/Sr High School Library.

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Mother and son, 14, die in Kendall after apparent propane leak
Posted 19 April 2018 at 7:01 am

Press Release, Orleans County Undersheriff Chris Bourke

KENDALL – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the circumstances involving the death of a mother and her son in the Town of Kendall.

Orleans County Undersheriff Christopher Bourke reported that Wednesday at 7:27 p.m., the 911 Center in Albion received a report of a propane gas leak at 2245 Center Rd. The Kendall Fire Department was dispatched and upon arrival discovered two bodies in an upstairs bedroom.

The deceased individuals were identified as Joan C. Gilman, 38, and her son Richard J. Gilman Jr., 14. The Sheriff’s Office learned that the electrical power had been turned off at the duplex a few days ago and a portable generator was being used along with some propane powered appliances during this period of time.

Both victims were transported to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office will continue the investigation and piece together the chain of events that led up to this tragedy.

Assisting the Sheriff’s Office in this investigation are the Kendall Fire Department, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force, the New York State Police Forensic Identification Unit, Town of Kendall Code Enforcement, investigators from the New York State Academy of Fire Science and the Orleans County Coroner’s Office.

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Medina will open construction bids next month for $32 million capital project
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 5:28 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Medina will build a campus access road, linking Oak Orchard and Wise schools, that will run where this playground stands by the elementary school. The playground will be removed and a new one put on the other side of the school.

MEDINA – The school district will open bids on May 2-3 from contractors on a capital project that is estimated at $32,588,000 for a slew of improvements at all three school buildings, the bus garage, and Vet’s Park. There would also be a new access road between Oak Orchard Elementary School and Clifford Wise Middle School.

The district last year did an overhaul of Vet’s Park. More work is planned for the park as part of the next phase of the capital project.

The district had a public referendum on Dec. 21, 2016 for two propositions. District residents approved, by a 367-45 vote,  spending $1,425,000 to allow for an expansion at Vet’s Park by acquiring 1.6 acres of land south of the park, adding permanent bleachers, more lighting, a new press box in the bleacher system, new fencing and additional synthetic turf in the current press box location.

Proposition 1 also passed, 372-43, and includes $32,588,000. That proposition is the focus for contractors right now. They are preparing their proposals. There was a walk-through this afternoon for contractors to review the buildings and grounds.

Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said the size and scope of the project has numerous contractors interested from Buffalo and Rochester. That should result in very competitive bidding, he told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

“There are a ton of builders interested so that’s a good thing,” he said. “The project can guarantee 2 years of work for people, because some of the work will be continuous.”

The State Education Department still needs to approve a building permit for the project. Kruzynski said that was expect last month, and then earlier this month. He has been assured by state Education officials it will be granted.

Here is a breakdown of project estimated at $32,588,000:

• Health, Safety and Code Compliance – $7,691,000

The district will replace aging bus lifts, upgrade the fire alarm systems, door hardware and toilets.

The roof, ceiling panels and wall panels will all be upgraded at the swimming pool.

Windows and a generator will be replaced at Oak Orchard Elementary School. Those windows are more than a half century old.

The project expenses are broken out to $3,637,300 at the elementary school, $2,562,400 at the middle school, $892,800 at high school, $561,500 at bus garage and $7,000 at concession stand.

• HVAC – $13,596,300

All three school buildings, as well as the bus garage, will have HVAC totally overhauled with $4,728,200 planned for the high school, $4,115,200 at the middle school, $4,103,000 at the elementary school and $649,900 for the bus garage.

The district also will add air-conditioning for the high, middle and elementary schools at $285,600 per building or $856,800 total. The HVAC and air conditioning projects will be funded 98 percent by the state, school officials said when discussing the project just before the public vote.

The boilers are all about 25 years old and are nearing the end of the their useful lives. If the district tried to fix a boiler or install air-conditioning outside of a capital project, Medina would have to pay 100 percent of the costs.

• Information Technology – $380,000

The district wants to move the network operations center from the basement of the district office to Oak Orchard Elementary School.

The project will also add fiber optics to handle future needs as Medina moves to more electronic devices and on-line testing.

• Academics/Programs at High School – $2,408,900

The project will include upgraded science rooms, renovations in library (by knocking out a wall and expanding to a next-door computer lab), replacing windows and renovating toilet facilities.

A pole barn will also be built for storage for marching band equipment (so no longer have to rent at Olde Pickle Factory).

The gym bleachers will be renovated, and JV softball and baseball fields will be upgraded. There also will be renovations in Ag Classroom and greenhouse.

The high school opened about 25 years ago and needs some work, especially with HVAC and to meet new state codes and technology needs, Kruzynski said.

This map of the campus shows where the new access road and parking lot (in white) would go, shifting some traffic from West Oak Orchard Street.

• Academics/Programs at Middle School – $1,028,000

The project includes renovations to the auditorium with stage floor, carpet, houselighting, some lighting and sound, and also some toilet renovations.

• Academics/Programs at Elementary School – $2,085,600

The project includes auditorium renovations – carpet, seating, general, and improvements to toilets, new drinking fountains, classroom storage units with sinks, upgrades to the playground, and provisions to abate hazardous materials if any are found inside walls during the construction project.


• Site work for track – $896,000

The track has already been resurfaced six times and the state won’t pay for another resurfacing but will aid a reconstruction of the site. The rebuilt track will have six lanes, event area, a scoreboard, and fencing and paving.

• Site work for road from elementary to middle school – $3,012,700

A campus road will be constructed between Oak Orchard Elementary and Wise Middle School for bus traffic. The road will be heavy duty for buses.

The project includes demolition, removal and grading, as well as new sidewalks, stormwater management, parking and road lighting, removal of playground and construction of a new one for younger elementary-age students, and restored landscaping.

A new parking lot with room for 70-75 vehicles also will be added.

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Governor restores voting rights to New Yorkers on parole
Posted 18 April 2018 at 3:58 pm

‘It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society.’ – Gov. Cuomo

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order to restore voting rights to individuals on parole. This reform will restore the right to vote upon release from incarceration and reverse disenfranchisement for thousands of New Yorkers.

Parole voting restrictions have a disproportionate impact on New Yorkers of color, with African Americans and Hispanic New Yorkers comprising 71 percent of the population so disenfranchised. Civic engagement is linked to reduced recidivism and this action will promote access to the democratic process and improve public safety for all New Yorkers. The executive order is available here.

“I am issuing an executive order giving parolees the right to vote,” Cuomo said. “It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society. This reform will reduce disenfranchisement and will help restore justice and fairness to our democratic process. Withholding or delaying voting rights diminishes our democracy.”

This executive action will reverse New York’s current disenfranchisement of individuals released from prison who are under post-release community supervision. New York joins 14 other states and the District of Columbia that restore the right to vote upon release from incarceration. There are roughly 35,000 individuals currently on parole in New York who cannot vote. These individuals are participants in society at large, despite the limitations placed on them by parole conditions. They work, pay taxes, and support their families, and they should be permitted to express their opinions about the choices facing their communities through their votes, just as all citizens do.

Additionally, the current law keeping people on parole supervision from voting is internally inconsistent with New York’s approach to voting for people serving sentences of probation. People on probation never lose the right to vote, but many county election officials are unclear about the distinction between those on parole and those on probation, often resulting in illegal disenfranchisement. A 2006 Brennan Center study reported that one-third of all New York counties incorrectly barred people on probation from registering to vote, while another third of all counties illegally made individuals show proof of their voter eligibility status.

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Albion music program makes it 11 years in a row for national recognition

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Albion Marching Band performs during the Memorial Day parade last May.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 11:56 am

ALBION – The Albion music program has made it 11 straight years of being recognized on a national list of schools with outstanding music programs.

The North American Music Merchants has its annual lists of school districts that are “Best Communities for Music Education.” Albion is one of 583 districts to be recognized nationally, and the only one in Orleans County.

The NAMM organization gives out the award to recognize districts that make music a priority, especially in an era of tight school budgets and packed student schedules.

“The schools and districts we recognize this year – both new and repeat honorees – represent a diverse group of urban, rural and suburban districts and demographics,” said Mary Luehrsen of The NAMM Foundation. “Along with a strong commitment to music education, there are two common traits that each program shares: consistent funding that anchors music education as part of the core curriculum and music programs that are located in communities where music education is viewed as a jewel of the school system. Parents, administrators and community members are proud of these local music programs and attend them regularly.”

Only about 4 percent of school districts in the country are on the current list, which NAMM started 19 years ago. Albion has now made it 11 straight years. Holley has previously been recognized by NAMM.

Victor Benjovsky portrays Jesus in Albion High School’s production of Godspell, which was performed March 23-24. The district does four musicals each year, with two by both the high school and middle school drama programs.

Albion runs an active music program in the elementary, middle and high schools. The high school puts on two full-scale musical and students also perform in several different instrumental and choral groups. In all, high school musicians perform numerous times during the school year. The Jazz Band Cabaret (April 21 at 6 and 8 p.m.) is next on busy schedule of music events.

The middle school puts on two musicals each year, and its students perform with the marching and jazz bands. Elementary music teachers lead students in performances throughout the year.

Research studies continue to demonstrate the physical, cognitive and social benefits of music making. Students who are involved in a school-based music program are not only more likely to graduate high school and attend college, the NAMM Foundation stated.

Students, with even only a few years of musical training early in life, also are better able to process sound, even later in life. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills and learning how to give and receive constructive criticism, NAMM said in announcing the schools on the list.

Some upcoming music events by Albion students include:

May 12: Marching Band @ Lilac Festival Parade

May 16: 5th grade Chorus/Band Concert

May 19: Marching Band @ Seneca Falls Pageant of Bands

May 23: Grades 3 & 4 Chorus/Band Concert

May 28: Marching Band @ Albion’s Memorial Day Parade

May 31: HS Talent Showcase

June 5: MS Band/Chorus Concert

June 6: HS Band Concert

June 7: HS Chorus Concert

June 9: Marching Band @ Strawberry Festival

(All concerts are at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Auditorium unless otherwise noted)

For more on NAMM, click here.

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Holley proposes school budget with 2% tax increase
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 10:55 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Holley Elementary School is pictured recently on North Main Street.

HOLLEY – The Holley Board of Education on Monday approved a $25,210,000 school budget that will go before voters on May 15.

The budget represents a 2.0 percent tax increase, with the tax levy going from $6,968,766 to $7,108,141.

The budget maintains the current programs in the district, said Sharon Zacher, the assistant superintendent for business.

Holley is reducing overall staff by 2.5 full-time equivalent positions, with two of those positions to be abolished through attrition.

The district’s enrollment is projected to hold steady, going from 997 in 2017-18 to 995 next school year.

The May 15 vote will include a proposition to approve the purchase of two school buses and a sport utility vehicle for replacement purposes during the 2018-2019 school year.

Eligible residents, 18 and older, will also vote on funding for Community Free Library.

There is also an election for the Board of Education. There are five candidates running for three positions, including incumbents – Mark Porter, Anne Winkley and Melissa Ierlan. Nancy Manard MacPhee and Anne Smith also are running for three-year terms on the board.

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Hawley says new flexibility in funding for Lake Ontario flood relief
Posted 18 April 2018 at 9:34 am

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley

As part of this year’s budget passed on March 31, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced on Tuesday that new regulations have been put in place to increase flexibility in Lake Ontario’s relief program.

“Residents and businesses across Lake Ontario’s shoreline are still struggling to recover after Lake Ontario’s historic flooding last year, and I am proud to announce that we fought diligently in this year’s budget to free up funding to allow the recovery process to continue,” Hawley said. “A total of $12.5 million will be sent to homeowners in Cayuga, Monroe and Wayne counties and $4 million has been allocated to homeowners in Orleans County for flood recovery efforts.”

Hawley was one of the first state officials to tour the flooding along Lake Ontario’s shoreline firsthand and was instrumental in fighting for a state relief package as part of last year’s end of session agreement.

“I will continue to fight for more funding and financial flexibility throughout the duration of session to see that all affected residents receive the aid they so desperately deserve,” Hawley continued. “Please feel free to contact my office for more information or questions on this program, and know that I am with you every step of the way.”

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Cancer survivor from Kendall finishes Boston Marathon
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2018 at 7:49 am

Jim Baker battled freezing rain, hypothermia to finish in 3:45

Photos courtesy of Jim Baker: Jim Baker, 55, of Kendall is pictured near the start of the Boston Marathon. He toured the city with his family over the weekend before the prestigious race on Monday.

BOSTON – Jim Baker’s second try running the Boston Marathon felt like redemption, and euphoria despite 26.2 miles in cold rain and wind.

Baker, 55, of Kendall ran the prestigious marathon on Monday and finished in 3 hours, 45 minutes.

“What a great feeling,” he said Tuesday evening. “I really enjoyed it this time.”

He ran the race two years ago and was a minute shy of 5 hours. That day it was hot and humid and Baker said he was in distress quickly into the race and had to struggle to get to the finish line.

The soreness and the slower-than-expected time two years was more than a tough day of running. Baker found his times didn’t rebound in races after that marathon. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Baker had surgery to remove a plum-size tumor. He started chemotherapy in June 2016. After seven months of treatment, his doctors declared him cancer-free on Jan. 13, 2017.

Baker kept running during chemo. It wasn’t his usual 8-minute mile pace. It was much slower, but he kept going, fighting nausea.

When he completed his treatments, he set a goal to qualify again for Boston and have a better experience there on race day.

Last Sept. 17, when he was 54, he finished the Rochester marathon in 3 hours, 35 minutes. That was 5 minutes faster than he needed to qualify for Boston. Baker has been training all winter, with some long runs at 18 to 20 miles.

He was ready for Boston. But Monday the weather was horrible, with hard rain throughout the race and temperatures in the 30s. There were giant puddles throughout the course that soaked sneakers.

Jim Baker was in good spirits at mile 18 of the Boston Marathon despite running in the freezing cold.

Baker felt good, really good during the first half of the race. He reached the halfway point in 1:45:05, which had him on pace for a 3:30 marathon. But the cold weather took a toll. At the 15-mile mark Baker started to cramp from the hypothermia. Many runners had to leave the course for medical treatment.

But Baker pushed onward.

The crowd still came out despite the onslaught of rain, and they were loud along the course. Baker said they lifted his spirits and helped keep him going. His wife Stacey and their daughter Megan also were there cheering him on. His son Kyle and many of his friends followed his progress on-line. The Boston Marathon posts updates on a runner’s times about every 3 miles. Baker was slowing down a little after the halfway mark but was still posting a good time, much faster than the race in 2016.

Before the final right turn, Baker could hear the roar of the crowd.

“It was so cool,” he said. “I have to give the crowd credit.”

He crossed the finish line in 3:45:25, an 8:36 pace per mile.

He was drenched when it was over and suffering from hypothermia. He didn’t stop shaking until an hour and half after crossing the finish line.

He met up with many of his running friends from the Rochester area when it was over. Baker said he has made many good buddies since he started running 11 years ago when he was 44. He works as a chemist for Kodak. He would go for walks during lunch breaks at work more than a decade ago, but Baker said that walking didn’t do anything to chip away at his extra pounds. He initially couldn’t run more than 200 yards without stopping. But he didn’t give up.

Conquering 2 miles while running was a milestone. He ran his first race at a 10K (6.2 miles) and enjoyed the energy and people at the races. He signed up for more races and joined the Bagel Bunch, a running group in Greece.

Jim Baker enjoys a post-race celebration with Jason McElwain, another Rochester area runner. The two often went on training runs together as part of the Bagel Bunch. McElwain is one of the Rochester’s top long distance runners. He ran Boston in 3:10:28.

He wants to lower his time at Boston next year. He would like to run the race when the weather is ideal, about 50 degrees without punishing rain. Two years ago it was way too hot, and Monday was a freezing deluge.

“It’s been either end of the extremes,” he said. “I’d like a 50-degree day and I’d like to do a 3:25.”

Despite the difficult conditions on Monday, Baker said he will cherish the memory.

“The first time I did it, it was a disaster,” he said about the race two years ago. “But I will remember this one because I had so much fun with it. I just want to improve on it.”

Baker’s upcoming running calendar includes the Shoreline Half Marathon on July 14 in Hamlin, the Metro 10 race in Albion (a 10-miler on Aug. 18) and the Rochester marathon in September.

Baker is an Albion native. He has lost 40 pounds since he started running. He credits the sport with saving his life. Running made him more in tune with his body. When he was running slower than his usual pace two years ago, he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with cancer. He had no other warning signs. He had no loss of appetite.

He was able to have the tumor removed and completed chemo before the cancer spread.

He wasn’t the only local finisher at Boston. Roger Bolton of Albion finished in 3:20:48 and Evan Dumrese, a Scottsville resident who grew up in Albion, completed the course in 3:25:33. Mike Conn, an Albion native and graduate of the Class of 1985, finished the Boston Marathon in 3:31:32. Conn currently lives in Rochester.

Any other local finishers are welcome to send a note to

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Snow bursts today follow recent ice and rain deluge
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2018 at 7:52 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – A burst of snow fell in Albion about 4 p.m. This photo shows the “Believe” sign up high on Main Street in Albion. Those hoping for spring-like weather will have to wait a few more days.

There are chances for more snow on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, when the highs for the three days will about 40. Saturday it should reach 45, followed by a high near 50 on Sunday, 55 on Monday and 60 on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A barn on Zig Zag Road in Albion is pictured at about 4:30 p.m. when temperatures were in the low 30s.

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Many contested races for the Board of Education in Orleans County
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2018 at 2:28 pm

Lyndonville has the most candidates, 8, seeking election on May 15

Monday was the deadline to submit petitions to run for the Board of Election at the five school districts in Orleans County. Four of the five districts have contested races for the election on May 15.

Here is a breakdown for each school district:

• ALBION– Margy Brown, the current board president, and Linda Weller are both seeking re-election to five-year terms. Elissa Nesbitt also will be on the ballot. She is currently on the board for Hoag Library.

• HOLLEY – There are five candidates running for three positions, including the incumbents – Mark Porter, Anne Winkley and Melissa Ierlan. Nancy Manard MacPhee and Anne Smith also are running for a three-year term on the board.

• KENDALL – The district has one candidate running for a five-year term. Jason ReQua is currently serving on the board.

• LYNDONVILLE – There are eight candidates seeking four open seats on the board. Three incumbents – Ted Lewis (board president), Kelly Cousins and Susan Hrovat – are seeking election. Russ Martino, who was recently appointed to the board to fill a vacancy when Penny Barry resigned, also is running for a board seat.

Other candidates include Stephanie Hargrave, Bill Jurinich, Tara Neace and Steven Vann. The top three vote-getters will be elected to three-year terms, while the fourth-leading candidate will be elected to a two-year term.

• MEDINA – Voters last May approved shrinking the board from nine to seven seats. The reduced board takes effect on July 1 so this will be the first election since the change. Medina normally has three board seats up for election. This time there will only be one spot as the district eliminates two seats.

Two incumbents, Brian Koch and Dr. Ann Bunch (current board vice president), are seeking re-election. Renee Paser-Paull has decided against another term on the board.

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Kendall, Yates will share $812,450 in state funds for flood protection
Posted 17 April 2018 at 12:52 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from last December shows waves bearing down on a new breakwall along Lomond Shores in Kendall.

Press Release, Gov. Cuomo’s Office

Two towns in Orleans County have been approved for state funding for flood relief projects.

The Town of Yates has been awarded $414,500 in Community Development Block Grant Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to make repairs and reconstruct approximately 700 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline that was damaged as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event at various locations.

The Town of Kendall has been awarded $397,950 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to mitigate future shoreline erosion along Lake Ontario as well as stabilize the existing shoreline with the use of stone rip rap and other geotextile material.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday the funding of $2.9 million in Lake Ontario Flood Relief funds to local governments in Wayne, Orleans, Niagara, Cayuga, and Jefferson counties. The projects are dedicated to restoration resiliency and recovery efforts following last year’s flooding and to protect the community from the damage of future storms. The state has committed $95 million to recovery efforts to support homeowners, small businesses, and community infrastructure, Cuomo said.

“The Lake Ontario shoreline experienced historic and damaging flooding last year, and we continue to stand with New Yorkers whose communities are still recovering,” Cuomo said. “This funding supports our mission to build back stronger and smarter and help every impacted town and resident get back on their feet.”

The window for applications for the recovery program has closed. The deadline for homeowner applications for assistance in relief and recovery was September 29, 2017. The deadline for municipality applications was December 29, 2017 and the deadline for small businesses was December 31, 2017. Homeowners wishing to appeal a determination regarding eligibility should email

“Our state made a promise and a commitment to the residents, small businesses, and local governments of Orleans, Monroe and Niagara counties that we would help them rebuild,” Senator Robert G. Ortt said on Monday. “Today, we’re taking an important step. Significant work remains, especially for recovering homeowners, but these funds will help municipalities rebuild critical infrastructure damaged in last year’s flooding and upgrade moving forward. We’ll continue to advocate for relief funding until residents, businesses, and municipalities receive the resources that they need to rebuild.”

“This support represents an important step in the state’s ongoing commitment to shouldering the burden of recovery brought on by last year’s devastating flooding,” said Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson. “With the lake already high, we are thankful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in delivering these funds, which will help our communities reinforce their shorelines so that we are prepared for the next flood.”

Besides Orleans County, the funding approved includes:

• Wayne County $1 million

The Town of Wolcott has been awarded $1,000,000 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to make construct an approximately 200-foot revetment along the Lake Ontario shoreline that will mitigate future flood damage and protect the most critical Town infrastructure.

• Niagara County: $558,440

Niagara County has been awarded $199,865 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to reimburse themselves for necessary emergency repairs and expenses incurred as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event. The expenses incurred included funds for shoreline restoration and reconstruction, from Youngstown to the Niagara County line, as well as funds related to materials and labor.

The Village of Wilson has been awarded $10,263 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to reimburse themselves for necessary emergency repairs and expenses incurred, including the purchase of a new trash pump for the Village’s wastewater treatment plant, as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event.

The Town of Porter has been awarded $348,312 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief Program funds to mitigate future shoreline erosion along the Town’s Fort Niagara Beach as well as stabilize up to 300-feet of the existing shoreline with the construction of stone rip-rap and rubble.

• Cayuga County: $400,000

The Village of Fair Haven has been awarded $400,000 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to make repairs to village infrastructure that was damaged as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event at various locations. The Town will reconstruct protective seawalls surrounding several public parks along the Lake Ontario shoreline and will also make necessary infrastructure repairs around and adjacent to the shoreline.

• Jefferson County: $215,468

The Town of Lyme has been awarded $215,468 in Lake Ontario Flood Relief CDBG Program funds to both reimburse themselves for necessary emergency repairs and expenses incurred as a result of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event and to make future repairs to the Town’s public infrastructure. The expenses incurred included funds related to materials and labor. The future repairs include the reconstruction of roads and culverts.

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DOT details work on Parkway paving that will include part of Kendall
Posted 17 April 2018 at 12:31 pm

Press Release, NYS Department of Transportation

New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas today announced that construction has begun on a $5.2 million paving project to rehabilitate nearly 30 lane miles of the Lake Ontario State Parkway between Route 19 in Hamlin, Monroe County and Route 237 in Kendall, Orleans County.

The project will significantly improve the existing pavement conditions through a multi-course resurfacing in both eastbound and westbound lanes. Work on the project is beginning nearly one month earlier than anticipated and will minimize the impact on tourism drawn by nearby Hamlin Beach State Park.

“Thanks to the commitment of Governor Cuomo, the State Department of Transportation continues to make smart investments in our local infrastructure,” said Acting Commissioner Karas. “This significant rehabilitation work along Lake Ontario will enhance safety and make it easier for the traveling public to utilize this asset in the summer months and beyond.”

Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s Drivers First initiative, the project has been designed to minimize impacts to the traveling public. The Lake Ontario State Parkway will remain open to traffic throughout construction, with at least one lane of traffic maintained in each direction. Short-term ramp closures will take place during paving of the on and off-ramps at the Route 237, Route 272 and Hamlin Beach interchanges. These ramps will be kept open Friday through Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The eastbound ramp at Hamlin Beach State Park will close in early May for approximately 7 days for concrete repairs to the bridge deck over Yanty Creek.

Work will consist of overlaying the existing deteriorating concrete pavement, the installation of new wrong-way signs, upgraded pavement markings and striping, along with narrowing the existing shoulder of the Parkway from 12 feet to 8 feet in width.

The pavement’s newly enhanced rideability will prove beneficial for motorists travelling to and from businesses in Monroe and Orleans counties, along with tourists visiting nearby Hamlin Beach State Park during the summer months. Access to the park will be maintained throughout the duration of the project.

“Today’s news that Department of Transportation has begun rehabilitation construction work on the Lake Ontario State Parkway from Hamlin to Kendall is certainly a relief to those living in the adjacent communities and those who use the roadway on a daily basis,” said State Senator Joe Robach. “I have consistently heard from my constituents just how needed and important this work is and I am glad that the state has made a commitment to ensure the entirety of the Parkway is a modern and safe thoroughfare for all who use it.”

“The counties of Monroe and Orleans are home to some of the most beautiful scenery in our state, but unfortunately the state of the Lake Ontario Parkway developed notoriety as an aggravating stretch for motorists and residents,” said State Sen. Robert Ortt. “This significant investment will repair 30 miles of the Parkway and provide residents with safer and more manageable commutes. It will also allow visitors to experience the beauty that Lake Ontario has to offer with minimal congestion as the summer travel season commences.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley: “This scenic byway is crucial to local tourism, travel and recreation as a main artery through Western New York that hosts numerous campers, travelers and fishermen. I am proud to be a part of this project’s success, and I look forward to smoother and safer travel in the near future.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo: “I’m excited to see improvements being made to Lake Ontario State Parkway, especially along this stretch. The Parkway improves accessibility in northwestern Monroe County and enhances our efforts to attract and retain jobs here in our community. This project, in concert with Monroe County’s previously announced $32 million investment in infrastructure, will help support jobs, strengthen our economy and enhance our world-class quality of life.”

Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson: “I am very pleased to be seeing some progress on this long-standing issue. My hope is that this is just the beginning of a larger effort to restore the Lake Ontario State Parkway to a condition fitting the beautiful scenic drive along Lake Ontario.”

During the paving project, detours will be posted for all ramp closures at Hamlin Beach Park. Motorists will be informed of construction work and detours using variable message boards and temporary work zone traffic control signs. Work will continue through the end of summer with a targeted completion date of early fall.

Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

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Local 4-Hers share public presentations at district event
Posted 17 April 2018 at 10:21 am

Provided photo: William Gregoire, Grace Gregoire, Hugh Gabalski and Luke Gregoire, all Orleans County 4-Hers, took part in Western District Public Presentations on Saturday at Erie County.  Amelia Sidonio and Zach Neal also participated in the event.

Press Release, Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension

Six Orleans County 4-Hers traveled to the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg in Erie County on Saturday morning for Western District 4-H Public Presentations.

The six were part of a group of ten chosen to move on from the county to district level of competition based on their scores at the county level event held in February.

Participating Saturday were Luke Gregoire of Murray, who presented on “Frogs”; William Gregoire of Murray who presented on “The History of Guns”;  Grace Gregoire of Murray who presented on “Hedgehogs”; Zach Neal of Albion who shared “How an Accordion Works”; Amelia Sidonio of Holley who presented on the “Feed a Bee” pollinator project; and Hugh Gabalski of Byron who shared “My NERF Arsenal.”

Zach Neal of Albion explains how an accordion works during his presentation at Western District 4-H Public Presentations.

The annual 4-H Public Presentations program provides 4-H youth with an opportunity to develop skills needed to research and organize information into an interesting and creative presentation and present it before an audience, said Kristina Gabalski, Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Program Coordinator.

“Orleans County was well-represented at the District event,” she said. “Our youth were scored by evaluators at the district level, and took part in an awards ceremony emceed by Erie County Legislator John Mills.”

4-Hers participating in the April 14 District event will be eligible to take part in a first-ever NYS 4-H Communications Institute to be held June 2-3 at Cornell University.

Amelia Sidonio of Holley presents on the “Feed a Bee” pollinator habitat project.

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Mother Nature is throwing area high school spring sports teams a nasty curve
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 17 April 2018 at 8:31 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Monday’s steady rain did nothing to help the playing conditions of area diamonds like this one at Lyndonville.

After a long winter most everyone no doubt looks forward to spring – sunshine, warm temperatures and a chance to enjoy outside activities.

Unfortunately, as is all too often the case in Western New York, Mother Nature doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with the calendar much to the dismay of area high school spring sports teams, and this season has been no exception.

Monday’s steady rain, which washed out over a dozen local baseball and softball games and tennis matches, follows up on last week’s series of rain, snow and wind postponements, all of which has left the early season schedules disrupted to say the least.

Those Monday rainouts included the Albion vs. Roy-Hart, Medina vs. Newfane and Wilson vs. Akron Niagara-Orleans League baseball and softball games as well as the Lyndonville vs. Notre Dame, Kendall vs. Elba and Alexander vs. Holley Genesee Region League softball contests.

And the forecast for the next few days puts a big question mark over the schedule for the rest of the week.

“The weather this spring (as well as last year), has definitely presented many challenges with regards to scheduling contests,” said Medina High Athletic Director Eric Valley. “The number one priority is the safety of our student-athletes.  As the spring rolls along that may mean that we will not be rescheduling some of the non-league games in order to get all our league contests completed.”

“I feel the worst for the players and coaches who are left with the uncertainty of what each day has in-store for them, a game or another indoor practice,” said Albion Athletic Director Randy Knaak. “The biggest frustration with this type of Spring is making sure that all of the changes are confirmed with the players, coaches, assignor, umpires, grounds crew, transportation, supervision, parents, and the athletic trainer.  Albion is very fortunate to have an outstanding grounds crew who is provided with all the necessary equipment and materials to keep our fields up and running during these difficult times. ”

Unfortunately, ever since the sectionals were expanded to open sectionals and the state playoffs were started the regular season has been condensed and pushed up earlier on the calendar which makes getting games in at a time of spring when the weather is most unpredictable a real challenge.

Now leagues such as the local N-O and G-R are playing league games before April 10 because the seeding meetings for sectionals are in mid May. This season, for example, the cutoff date for playing league baseball games in Section VI is May 17 with the season ending meeting slated for that same day. Sectionals are slated to begin on May 18 with the class finals on May 24 which is the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend.

The situation for baseball teams has become even more critical with the addition of a much needed pitch count rule last year. That certainly compounds the problem for coaches trying to have enough pitching in a compacted regular season. And when coaches have to add fitting in makeup games because of weather postponements the problem is really magnified.

Akron varsity baseball Coach Greg Bell has voiced the opinion that the section should return to a schedule where league games would be played up until the Memorial Day weekend and sectionals held after the holiday.

In light of the combination of a compacted schedule, pitch count requirements and uncertain weather that is certainly a suggestion that it seems would go a long way to easing the situation. It would not only give leagues more days to get their games in but would also allow them the opportunity to start the league season a bit later when the chance for better weather improves.

In addition, returning to the old Section VI rule where teams had to have a .500 league record to qualify for sectionals could also help ease the situation. By decreasing the number of teams involved it would reduce the number of rounds needed and thus reduce the length of the playoffs..

Valley rightly notes that “the league schedules are generated almost a year in advance so it is very difficult to predict when conditions will be ideal to be competing safely outside.  As a league there have been many discussions about when the season should be started and when sectional play should begin.  The state sets all the dates for the state tournaments, then the section decides when we will begin our play based on that.  As a league we are at the mercy of the schedules given to us by the state and section.”

He adds, ” I have not been involved with any of the discussions at the section level, but I know that this has been a concern.”

Area N-O and G-R diamond coaches are no doubt hoping that by the time the next full round of games are scheduled on Wednesday that the weather will be improved enough for those contests to be played.

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