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4 juveniles charged for starting dumpster fires in Medina
Staff Reports Posted 22 February 2017 at 9:58 am

MEDINA – The Medina Police Department has charged four youths with arson in the fifth degree for allegedly setting dumpster fires on Monday.

The Police Department and Fire Department were called at about 7:20 p.m. on Monday to a dumpster fire at the United Memorial Medical Center’s OB/GYN Office, 11125 Maple Ridge Rd. The fire was contained in the dumpster with the Medina Fire Department quickly extinguished it.

Later on Monday at 8:07 p.m., police officers and firefighters responded to a dumpster fire at the Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God, 324 Catherine St. Again, the fire was contained to the dumpster with the Medina Fire Department extinguishing it, the Police Department said today.

After a short investigation by Medina Police Officer Marsceill and Medina Police Officer Collins, it was found that four juveniles allegedly started both fires. All four juveniles were issued appearance tickets for arson in the 5th degree and were released to their parents. No injuries were reported.

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Medina and Lyndonville village elections have unopposed candidates
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 February 2017 at 9:48 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Owen Toale, left, and Todd Bensley are unopposed in the March 21 village election at Medina.

Two villages in Orleans County will hold elections on March 21 for positions on the Village Board. The candidates in Medina and Lyndonville are all unopposed.

The deadline for submitting petitions passed on Feb. 14.

In Lyndonville, Mary Kage is the lone candidate for a two-year term as a village trustee. Kage was appointed to the board in September, filling a vacancy created when Jim Tuk resigned. The election on March 21 is for the final two years of Tuk’s term. Lyndonville’s election is from noon to 9 p.m. at the Village Hall.

In Medina, two incumbents are uncontested for re-election. Owen Toale and Todd Bensley are seeking two-year terms on the board. Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 615 West Ave.

Toale is a retired publisher of the former Journal-Register in Medina. Bensley teaches AP government and participation in government in Medina, and also is the village historian.

There aren’t any positions up for election in Albion, and Holley holds its election in June.

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Dense fog blankets area this morning
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 February 2017 at 8:31 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The area woke up this morning to dense fog. It was hard to see down the street. This photo shows the canal boats between the lift bridges in Albion. This photo was taken from the Ingersoll Street bridge, looking west towards Main Street.

Motorists needed their headlights this morning on Main Street in Albion. The National Weather Service in Buffalo issued this statement: “Patchy fog can be found over sections of Niagara and Orleans counties this morning. The fog may be locally dense. Travelers should be aware of varying visibility during the morning commute.”

Trees are pictured on the Courthouse lawn with the First Presbyterian Church in back. Today is forecast for a high of 61.

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DEC will discuss state of Lake Ontario fishery at 3 meetings in March
Posted 21 February 2017 at 3:54 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Pete Ricci of Waterport fishes near the dam in Lyndonville in this photo from Nov. 3, 2015. Johnson Creek in Lyndonville is one of several tributaries in Orleans County that are popular with anglers.

Press Release, DEC

The public will have the opportunity to learn about the state of Lake Ontario fisheries at public meetings held in Niagara, Monroe, and Oswego counties in March, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced.

“Lake Ontario and its tributaries continue to provide world-class fishing opportunities for the hundreds of thousands of anglers who enjoy it every year,” Commissioner Seggos said. “These fisheries provide unsurpassed recreational opportunity and generate substantial economic benefits to the surrounding communities. The state of Lake Ontario meetings provide an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in the lake and its tributaries to interact with the scientists and managers who study and manage these fisheries.”

Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout and salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch, and panfish. New York’s Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres. A recent statewide angler survey estimated that more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and its major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually for local economies.

The meeting dates and locations are as follows:

• Tuesday, March 7: 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, Niagara County. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

• Thursday, March 9: 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus (Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science building (76-1125) – Carlson Auditorium), Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.

• Monday, March 13: 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Pulaski High School auditorium, 4624 Salina St., Pulaski, Oswego County. The meeting is co-hosted by the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association. In the event of heavy lake-effect snow, the meeting will be held at the same time and location on March 14.

Staff from DEC, the United States Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will share presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries in the lake and its tributaries, forage fish, and stocking programs. The meetings will provide ample time at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters.

Information about DEC’s Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs can be found on DEC’s website. For additional information contact Steven LaPan, New York Great Lakes Fisheries Section Head at the Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, (315) 654-2147.

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County Legislature plans to back rifles for big game hunting, oppose SAFE Act outside of NYC
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2017 at 1:55 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature agenda for for its monthly meeting on Wednesday includes resolutions in support of allowing rifles for big game hunting in Orleans County. The Legislature also plans to support a proposal that would limit the SAFE Act to New York City.

The Legislature’s regular meeting starts at 4 :30 p.m., at the County Clerks Building, Suite 2 at 3 South Main St.

The Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen Club attended the Legislature’s December and January meetings, asking the county to allow rifles for deer and bear.

The Legislature’s proposed resolution of support states the following:

“WHEREAS, the Orleans County Legislature has listened to both sides of the argument of the use of rifles to hunt big game in Orleans County at several past Conference Sessions and Legislature Meetings; and

“WHEREAS, a special state law must be enacted and the first step in the process is for this Legislature to request the legislation; now be it

“RESOLVED, that this Orleans County Legislature requests the New York State Legislature to enact legislation that will allow the use of rifles for big game hunting in all of Orleans County.”

The Legislature also plans to approve supporting legislation to partially repeal the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013. Excerpts of the Legislature’s proposed resolution includes:

“WHEREAS, Senate bill S879B has been introduced to the New York State Senate by Senators Michael Nozzolio and Katherine Marchione respectively, which would repeal part of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013; and

“WHEREAS, this Legislative Body has long advocated for the protection of the rights afforded our citizens under the Constitution, which has for generations guided our Nation and served as a framework to our republic and society; and

“WHEREAS, the Second Amendment of the United States provides for the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” and further states that this right “shall not be infringed”; and

“WHEREAS, the Civil Rights Law of the State of New York states in Article 2 Section 4, “Right to keep and bear arms. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.”; and

“WHEREAS, the lawful ownership of firearms is a recreational benefit to our residents through hunting and target shooting, along with an economic and environmental benefit to our region with several locally owned and operated gun/sporting businesses; and

“WHEREAS, the New York State Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (NY SAFE Act) of 2013 which was rushed to passage by the New York State Senate, Assembly and Governor, will have a detrimental effect on hunters, sportsmen and legal gun owners, creating a hostile environment both for them and for the sale and manufacture of legal firearms; and

“WHEREAS, the legislation unconstitutionally prohibits the sale of firearm magazines with a capacity larger than seven (7) rounds and, those firearm magazines with a capacity larger than seven (7) rounds, which are authorized to be retained by existing owners, may only be loaded with seven (7) rounds and eventually must be permanently altered to only accept seven (7) rounds or be disposed of; and

“WHEREAS, few or no low capacity (seven (7) rounds or less) magazines currently exist for many of the firearms commonly possessed by law-abiding residents of New York State; and

“WHEREAS, the legislation severely impacts the possession and use of firearms now employed by the residents of Orleans County for the defense of life, liberty and property; and

“WHEREAS, the legislation severely impacts the possession and use of firearms now employed for safe forms of recreation including, but not limited to hunting and target shooting; and

“WHEREAS, while there are some areas of the legislation that the Orleans County Legislature finds encouraging, such as the strengthening of Kendra’s Law and Marks’s Law, as well as privacy protections for lawful permit holders, we find the legislation fails to offer little meaningful solutions to gun violence and places undue burdens where they don’t belong, squarely on the backs of law abiding citizens; and

“WHEREAS, there are many parts of this legislation that place an unfunded mandate on the local Sheriff Departments, County Clerk’s Office and County Judges, while tax payers are crying out relief; and

“WHEREAS, there will be significant financial impact due to the approximately 5,000 Orleans County pistol permits that will have to be renewed requiring additional manpower and computer systems; and

“WHEREAS, requiring law-abiding gun owners to verify ownership of certain types of firearms every five years, in addition to registering them on permits, which now also must be renewed every five years, does not increase the safety of the public and is unnecessarily burdensome to the residents of New York State; and

“WHEREAS, this legislation effectively treats countless New York State law abiding gun owners as criminals; and

“WHEREAS, the enactment of the NY SAFE Act has engendered significant controversy over both the process by which it was enacted and certain provisions contained within; and

“WHEREAS, the manner in which this legislation was brought forward for vote in the State Legislature is deeply disturbing to the Orleans County Legislature; and

“WHEREAS, this legislative body unanimously voted to oppose the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 for all reasons stated above in RESOLUTION NO.82-213 of the Orleans County Legislative proceedings of February 13, 2013; now be it

“RESOLVED, that the Orleans County Legislature does hereby support Senator Robert Orrt’s bill to repeal part of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, limiting the application of the “S.A.F.E. Act” to the five boroughs of New York City; and be it

“FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Legislature supports the introduction of an Assembly bill which calls for the repeal or partial repeal of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act of 2013; and be it

“FURTHER RESOLVED, that this legislature supports efforts by the New York State Legislature to remove funds for enforcement of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act of 2013 from the New York State Budget.”

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Governor says big increase in solar in NY over last 5 years
Posted 21 February 2017 at 12:32 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: This photo from July 2015 shows Howard Pierce at his home on Millers Road in Yates. Pierce had 62 solar panels put on his log cabin home and next-door garage.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced state-supported solar power in New York increased nearly 800 percent from December 2011 to December 2016, leveraging nearly $1.5 billion in private investment. Solar growth is critical to the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard that 50 percent of New York’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.

“New York is a national leader in clean energy, and the tremendous growth of the solar industry across this state demonstrates this renewal technology’s increased accessibility and affordability for residents and businesses,” Cuomo said. “Our investments in this clean energy resource create jobs, reduce carbon emissions, support economic growth, and help build a cleaner, greener New York for all.”

The 795 percent solar growth in the State over the last five years was supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority and other private and public sector actors. 64,926 projects were installed through the end of 2016, compared with 8,989 through the end of 2011. These state-supported projects total nearly 744 megawatts of solar power installed. That amount of electricity would be sufficient to meet the needs of more than 121,000 average homes.

The significant growth of solar power is attributed to a combination of factors, including the NY-Sun Megawatt Block Incentive program, a decline in solar equipment prices, and growth in the number of installer businesses marketing solar directly to consumers.

The largest percentage increase in solar power was in the Mohawk Valley, followed by the Finger Lakes Region, Central New York and the Southern Tier. Long Island has more installations than any other region of the State, followed by the Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital Region.

In addition to the new solar installations over the last five years, more than 886 MW of additional solar power was under development in the State as of the end of last year, enough to power more than 150,000 average homes.

In 2014, Governor Cuomo made a historic commitment of nearly $1 billion to NY-Sun to stimulate the marketplace and increase the number of solar electric systems across the State over 10 years. NY-Sun aims to add more than three gigawatts of installed solar capacity in the State by 2023. One gigawatt equals 1,000 megawatts. New York now has more than 8,000 workers engaged in solar jobs.

Maps showing megawatts of solar for counties in each New York region and a chart illustrating pre-NY-Sun versus post-NY-Sun figures can be found by clicking here. In Orleans, the solar power is up to 1.2 megawatts.

“The surge in the solar market is providing energy savings for New York households and businesses, and creating thousands of jobs as the industry grows to meet this demand,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of NYSERDA. “NY-Sun demonstrates Governor Cuomo’s clean energy strategy in action.”

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Soil & Water honors Neal family for conservation efforts at Albion dairy
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2017 at 11:33 am

Provided photo

The Neal family, owners of Orleans Poverty Hill Farms in Albion, was named 2016 Conservation Farm of the Year by the Soil and Water Conservation District. The farm was honored on Friday during Soil and Water’s annual meeting at Tillman’s Village Inn.

Pictured from left include: Jody and Andrea Neal and their daughters Kasey and Adelyn, Jeremy Neal, Jody’s sons Jayden and Zachary, Lillian and Ed Neal, and James Neal.

Soil and Water provided this write-up on the farm:

Franklyn Neal purchased the farm in 1956 which consisted of 90 acres of land and 16 cows. In January 1966, Franklyn’s son Ed joined the operation and purchased a home which added 75 acres of land and the farm expanded to 55 cows.

James entered the operation in 1989, expanding to 85 cows and adding 120 acres to the farm. Jody came home in 1999 after graduating from Cornell and expanding the farm’s cow numbers from 120 to today’s 560.

In 2000 Jeremy joined the family farm after graduating from Alfred. Over the years Poverty Hill Farms has accumulated up to 1,000 acres of tillable land.

An ad by Upstate Farms about five years ago featured Jody Neal sitting in a pickup truck with his daughter, Kasey.

The Neal family plays an important part in Orleans County participating in 4-H programs, Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension. James has also served on the Soil and Water Conservation District Board for 11 years as the Farm Bureau Representative.

Orleans Poverty Hill Farms has a long tradition of working with Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency, Cornell Cooperative Extension and area crop consultants to continue their stewardship of the land.

The farm has participated in the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program and worked with Soil & Water and NRCS to adopt new and innovative farming practices that protect and improve their care of the land, as well as improve their bottom line profit. The farm is always in compliance with the CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) regulations and are judicious in their desire to conserve and maintain the land and environment.

Poverty Hill Farms uses farming practices to: 1) minimize soil erosion with installation of drainage tile, planting of cover crops, and cross-slope planting; 2) optimize soil health with scheduled soil testing as part of their nutrient management and residue management plans; and 3) reduce non-point source pollution by installing a manure and agricultural waste treatment system, a waste storage and transfer system, and a silage leachate control and treatment system. In addition, they have added buffer strips along streams and ditches and installed grassed waterways where feasible.

The farm participated with the NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) from 2006-2013. The farm also participated in the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) from 2002-2009 working on Residue Management, Nutrient Management, Pesticide Management and Filter Strips.

These practices, along with others that are planned, demonstrate the farm’s excellent stewardship of the land and desire to protect our natural resources.

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Hunter charged with second-degree assault after accidentally shooting man in abdomen
Staff Reports Posted 21 February 2017 at 10:00 am

SWEDEN – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department has charged a 42-year-old Town of Sweden man with second-degree assault after he accidentally shot a man in the stomach on Monday evening.

Brett Blackburn of Covell Road and his son were on their property hunting for coyotes when they observed movement in the field. Blackburn used a light to illuminate the area of movement and observed light he thought to be the eyes of a coyote. Blackburn fired his rifle then heard someone yell. He assisted the victim and his son ran to their residence to call 911, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department reported today.

Deputies responded at about 6:24 p.m. to the area of 1505 Covell Road in the Town of Sweden for the report of a male who had been shot in a field north of the dispatched location.

Deputies arrived at the location and on foot located the victim identified as Robert Williams, 32, who had been shot in the abdomen. Deputies also observed Brett Blackburn rendering aid to the victim. Deputies coordinated with Fire Department and EMS officials to help evacuate the victim to a waiting ambulance. Williams was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

Blackburn was charged with second degree assault and arraigned in Sweden Town Court. Bail was set at $1,500 cash or $5,000 bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m.

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Law enforcement will use Holley Elementary for training on Wednesday and Thursday
Staff Reports Posted 21 February 2017 at 9:34 am

HOLLEY – The Holley Elementary School, which is closed this week, will be used for a law enforcement training activity on Wednesday and Thursday, Superintendent Robert D’Angelo said in a message to the community.

Law enforcement agencies in Orleans County will be doing active shooter training on Feb. 22-23, from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the school district said.

“We want to notify you of this as there will be many police officers at the school and police vehicles on the grounds,” D’Angelo said in his letter to the community. “We emphasize that this is only a training exercise and there is no cause for alarm. During the training exercise, the Elementary School building will be closed to all other activities. No one will be allowed to enter the building during the training.”

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Schools get ready for busy March
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2017 at 9:21 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Larry Gaylord, a member of the Building and Grounds Department for Albion Central School, changes the sign this morning for the school, advertising a March 3 basketball game between faculty and state troopers. That game starts at 6:30 and is a benefit for the Middle School FFA.

Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina school districts are all closed for classes this week for mid-winter break.

Next week, the districts begin a busy stretch of the school year. Gaylord said March will require many updates for the sign.

The other side of the sign promotes a March 1 district-wide concert.

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Save Ontario Shores leaders tell town officials across NY to be wary of state control over local decisions

Photo courtesy of Save Ontario Shores: Leaders of Save Ontario Shores spoke at the Association of Towns meeting in New York City on Monday. Pictured, from left, include: SOS consultant Carl Calabrese, SOS Vice President Kate Kremer, SOS President Pam Atwater, Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey and Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson.

Posted 21 February 2017 at 8:46 am

Press Release, Save Ontario Shores

NEW YORK CITY – Representatives of Save Ontario Shores, a citizens group opposing the large-scale wind turbine project in Yates and Somerset, warned town leaders from across New York State on Monday that more than 1,500 industrial wind turbines across NYS could have a significant, negative impact on local communities.

During a presentation Monday afternoon at the Association of Towns of New York meeting in mid-town Manhattan, SOS President Pam Atwater told attendees about a statement made by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo during one his recent State of the State addresses, when he talked about a proposed industrial wind project 30 miles off the coast of Long Island.  “Not even Superman standing on Montauk Point can see these wind farms,” he said.

“Why should rural residents end up living within 1,500 feet of industrial wind turbines if they don’t want to?” she asked.  “The governor should give rural residents the same consideration as well-heeled Long Island residents.”

Kate Kremer, SOS vice president, said there are 30 industrial wind turbine projects on the drawing board in New York.

“If all 30 projects are approved, New York State will be tripling the number of projects and the number of towns impacted. The proliferation is alarming,” she said.  “These proposed industrial wind turbines are increasing in height. Because they are taller, they can go in more locations.”

Kremer raised questions about how Article 10 is eroding Home Rule for New York’s 950 towns.

Article 10 gives a siting board the power to approve new, repowered or modified major electric generating facilities in the state.

In the towns of Somerset and Yates, a siting board – with most members appointed by the governor – will be considering the proposal by Apex Clean Energy to install up to 70 industrial wind turbines along the Lake Ontario shoreline. The turbines reportedly would tower more than 620 feet, making them the tallest onshore industrial wind turbines in the United States.

“Once these towers are up, rural New York State will be changed forever,” Kremer said.  “We’ve been involved in this process for two years and we still do not know where these industrial turbines are going to be located.”

Kremer also pointed to problems local residents have encountered with the Article 10 process.

“Though it encourages people to comment, there is no mechanism requiring Apex to respond to those concerns, unless directed to do so by an administrative law judge. There’s no process for these comments to mean anything. And there is no threshold, no brake mechanism; even if there are substantial reasons why a location is clearly unreasonable, the Article 10 process will continue.”

Atwater also talked about the emotional toll this kind of debate can have on a community.

“Industrial wind projects are very divisive and cause serious rifts in communities,” she said.  “Our towns are largely agricultural. The Town of Somerset is a ‘Right to Farm’ community and historically has been very supportive of farmers. There is a marketing campaign by Lighthouse Wind, with full page ads and billboards, that equates saving family farms with hosting industrial wind turbines.  In reality, some farmers oppose the projects and other families are split on the issue.”

Carl Calabrese, SOS consultant and former Town of Tonawanda supervisor, said Article 10 is usurping Home Rule.

“Municipalities have the right to define themselves,” he said.  “The Article 10 board, which has five of seven members appointed by the governor, takes local decision-making away from local governments, replacing them with appointees from state agencies.

“Governing towns of any size in New York State is difficult,” Calabrese said.  “Town officials are constantly confronted with challenges delivering basic town services. The last thing they need on top of these normal pressures is their divisiveness when out of state corporations can enter New York, bypass town zoning laws, town boards and master plans, and inject an issue that will not only cause discord, but will add significant costs to towns attempting to legally oppose these projects. These are disruptions that town officials do not need.”

Man shot in stomach by hunter in Town of Sweden
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 February 2017 at 7:17 pm

SWEDEN – A man was shot in the stomach by a hunter this evening in the Town of Sweden. A mutual aid call went out at 6:52 p.m. for the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Company to bring an off-road vehicle to go to a Covell Road address.

That call for mutual aid was cancelled after the Brockport Fire Department arrived on the scene, an Orleans County dispatcher said.

Rochester media this morning is reporting the accidental shooting happened in a wooded area along Lake Road. A father and son were out coyote hunting when they mistakenly shot another man.

Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies used an ATV to reach the man who was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital for life-threatening injuries, Channel 10 in Rochester is reporting (Click here).

(Editor’s Note: This article was updated this morning.)

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Spring-like weather will continue
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 February 2017 at 6:59 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: This photo shows a reflection of the Orleans County Courthouse in Albion on Saturday. The building appears as a reflection in the glass next to a door at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

After a weekend with highs in the 60s, the area’s unseasonably warm temperatures will continue this week, with highs of 53 on Tuesday, 59 on Wednesday, 58 on Thursday and 62 on Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

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Governor tries to raise awareness about teen dating abuse
Posted 20 February 2017 at 3:47 pm

The State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is distributing these posters to incease awareness about teen dating abuse.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has launched “Control Isn’t Love,” a social media advertising campaign to educate teens and adults about the signs of teen dating abuse and where to seek help.

The online campaign will target younger audiences and parents through Instagram and Facebook ads that will appear throughout February, which New York State marks annually as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

“With this campaign, we are taking an important step to reach teens and young adults in order to educate and crack down on dating abuse,” Governor Cuomo said. “By opening communication between parents and their children, we also want to foster serious discussions and smart decisions to assist others in need.”

The social media ads feature iconic candy conversation hearts but the messages are controlling and demeaning – Loser, Don’t Wear That, Answer Me and others – to illustrate a common form of teen dating abuse.

The advertisements will be branded #controlisntlove and link to a newly redesigned website detailing information and resources, including the state’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906. The toll-free hotline provides help and information 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and other languages, and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711.

The Governor also issued a proclamation (click here) marking February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in New York State; the month also is recognized nationally.

Gwen Wright, Executive Director of the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, said, “We know that dating violence can begin very early, as young people are starting to experience romantic relationships. Controlling behaviors, such as requiring a ‘check-in’ or knowing where you are going or who you are with at all times, are often mistaken for commitment or love. This campaign aims to highlight the types of messages that should be considered red flags and offers resources for help and more information.”

New Yorkers of all ages are encouraged to join the campaign and raise awareness in their communities:

Send a virtual valentine that explains how they will change the message and promote healthy relationships. Snap photos of the hearts – or selfies with them – and share the photos to social media sites using #controlisntlove and @NYSOPDV throughout February.

Posters also are available so schools, community organizations and others can spread the word.

State Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, “Most victims of dating violence are girls between the ages of 16 and 24, with some victims of domestic violence reporting being abused as young as 11. This startling statistic underscores that teen dating violence is a serious issue. My agency stands with the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and supports its efforts to educate teens, teachers and the public that teens deserve healthy relationships and if they find themselves in an abusive relationship, there is help available and they are not alone.”

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Long-time antiques dealer sees value in items from yesteryear
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 February 2017 at 1:46 pm

‘The crazier, unusual stuff, the better’ – Robin Stelmach

Photos by Tom Rivers: Robin Stelmach is pictured inside Americana Unlimited Antiques, his business at the corner of Ridge Road and Route 279 in Gaines. Stelmach will be doing an antiques appraisal fair on Saturday at Tillman’s Village Inn as a benefit for the Cobblestone Society.

GAINES – When Robin Stelmach was a college student at Brockport about three decades ago, he would drive Ridge Road from Niagara County to Brockport. There were about 20 antiques businesses then.

Now there are only a few remaining. Stelmach’s business, Americana Unlimited Antiques, has been based in Gaines on Ridge Road for about 20 years. He is at the corner of Ridge Road and Route 279, a 9,000-square-foot building that used to be a stage coach stop in the 1800s and later served as a grange.

Stelmach has all kinds of stuff inside, including paintings from untrained artists, bicycles, mounted animals, furniture, business signs, vintage beer bottles and fishing lures. It’s all old stuff.

Robin Stelmach likes to collect clown shoes, which he said are hard to come by. “You never know what people will collect,” he said.

Stelmach, 53, has been in the antiques business since he was 8. It’s been his full-time profession since 1990. He doesn’t do any sales on-line.

“Most of my business is word of mouth,” he said today. “Most of it is out of state.”

Stelmach can identify almost any household object, any artifact that may have been stored away in an attic for years – even decades. An antique appraiser and dealer needs to be versatile, with know-how in just about everything, he said.

“You can’t be one-dimensional in the antique business or you will fail,” he said today.

While Stelmach has a general knowledge of all kinds of antiques, he said he specializes in guns, coins and rugs.

This Saturday, Stelmach and another antique dealer, Mark Christopher of Dream Speaker Antiques, will have an antique appraisal fair at Tillman’s Village Inn at the corner of Ridge Road and Route 98. The event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is a benefit for the Cobblestone Society and Museum. (Click here for more information.)

Stelmach encourages people to not throw away things that might seem like junk until they have an antiques professional take a look. He said there may be unexpected treasures in the attic. Some old Levi’s jeans from the early 1970s are worth $500 to $1,000, for example.

Some people stash away old pocketwatches, coins, pottery, furniture, even beer bottles that may jump in value over the years.

He does a few antique appraisal fairs each year, with shows in the Adirondacks and Massachusetts. Stelmach is a former trustee for the Cobblestone Museum. He wanted to do a local event to support the museum.

“People really just want to know and understand what it is,” he said about some of the items discovered in houses and garages.

Stelmach sells all kinds of stuff, from old bikes (ones with banana seats are popular) to paintings from untrained artists. Chinese porcelains “are really hot right now,” and vinyl records are making a comeback.

Among his vast collection, Stelmach said three pairs of clown shoes are among his favorite. “They’re very rare,” he said about the shoes. “Most clowns are buried with their shoes.”

His collection of taxidermied animals include polar bears, caribou, moose, bison and a giant tuna.

“Anything is collectable,” he said. “You never know what people will collect.”

The antiques business is a tough one, especially in this part of the state. The market is depressed around Orleans County. Stelmach sells many of his antiques out of the area.

The biggest factor making antiques  a challenging business, though, may be changing demographics. Stelmach said younger adults, ages 45 and under, prefer homes with less stuff.

“People don’t collect as much as they used to,” he said.

But he said the market is always changing. He thinks there will be a resurgence even among younger adults for antiques, for items that aren’t mass produced and cheaply made.

“We live in such a throw-away society right now,” Stelmach said.

He welcomed people to bring in items on Saturday, from original art to household furnishings (pictures of a bed or dresser would suffice).

“The crazier, unusual stuff, the better,” he said. “I’m good at knowing what things are.”

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