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Governor proposes $168 billion budget that tackles ‘unprecedented challenges’
Staff Reports Posted 16 January 2018 at 4:42 pm

Proposes 3% percent increase for schools, while Excelsior Program eligibility expanded

Photo from Governor’s office: Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlines his executive budget today in Albany.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the FY 2019 Executive Budget, which he said includes a number of proposals – fighting the federal tax assault to ending the opioid epidemic by holding pharmaceutical companies accountable to investing record amounts in education.

“For the past eight years, we have restored fiscal discipline while achieving historic progressive accomplishments and strengthening middle class New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Together, we will continue to deliver on the promise of progressive government – even while tackling unprecedented challenges head on. We will restore citizen confidence and ensure management competence. This bold agenda charts a path forward toward a better future for all New Yorkers.”

Highlights of the FY 2019 Executive Budget:

• State Operating Funds spending is $100.0B – an increase of 1.9 percent (State Operating Funds exclude Federal funds and capital)

• All Funds spending $168.2 billion for FY 2019

• Protects New Yorkers from federal tax assault

• Closes carried interest loophole

• Increases School Aid by $769 million – doubling the statutory School Aid growth cap and bringing total investment to $26.4 Billion

• Provides $7.5 billion in State support for higher education in New York- an increase of $1.4 billion or 24 percent since FY 2012

• Provides $118 Million to continue the successful Excelsior Scholarship and extend the income cap to $110,000

• Establishes a new opioid epidemic surcharge

• Imposes a Healthcare Insurance Windfall Profit Fee

• Defers Large Corporate Tax Credits

• Continues the phase-in of the Middle Class Tax Cut for six million New Yorkers – saving households $250 on average and $700 annually when fully effective.

For 8th straight year, spending limits spending growth to 2 percent

For the eighth consecutive year, the Budget is balanced and limits spending growth to two percent – a record of spending restraint unparalleled in State history.

The Executive Budget holds annual spending growth in State Operating Funds to 1.9 percent.

Protect New Yorkers from Federal tax changes

The recently enacted federal tax law is an assault on New York, Cuomo said. By gutting the deductibility of state and local taxes, the law effectively raises middle class families’ property and state income taxes by 20 to 25 percent. New York is fighting back against the federal plan and the loss of both income tax deductibility and property tax deductibility.

First, New York will challenge this unprecedented federal double taxation in court as unconstitutional, because it violates states’ rights and the principle of equal protection. Second, New York will lead the nation’s resistance to the new law, starting a repeal-and-replace effort: “Tax Fairness for All” campaign.

Third, at Governor Cuomo’s direction, the Department of Taxation and Finance is exploring restructuring options and issuing a preliminary report to outline options for State tax reform in response to the Federal legislation. The preliminary report is expected to outline a series of proposals for consideration and comment, including the potential to create additional opportunities for charitable contributions to New York State, the possibility of reducing income taxes by shifting income tax from an employee paid system to an employer paid system, and the option to add tax deductibility through a new statewide unincorporated business tax, among other options.

As New York launches this massive and complicated undertaking, the state will engage tax experts, both houses of the legislature, employers, and other stakeholders in a thorough and collaborative process to produce a proposal that promotes fairness for New York’s taxpayers and safeguards the competitiveness of New York’s economy.

Investing in Education

The FY 2019 Executive Budget includes a $769 million annual increase in School Aid — doubling the statutory School Aid growth cap and increasing education aid 35 percent since 2012. The Budget includes support for several key initiatives, including the Governor’s sixth consecutive investment in high-quality prekindergarten, a second round of Empire State After School awards to high-need districts, the continued transformation of high-need schools into community hubs, the largest State investment ever in computer science and engineering programming and instruction, and additional funding for early college high schools.

Expanding Access to Higher Education

The FY 2019 Executive Budget expands access to higher education by launching the second phase of the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarship program, advancing a comprehensive plan to combat exploding student loan debt, and passing the DREAM Act. The Budget also includes strategic investments that will ensure no student goes hungry on college campuses and provide New Yorkers with the tools and skills they need in the 21st century economy.

The Excelsior Free Tuition Program will see the income eligibility threshold increase, allowing New Yorkers with household incomes up to $110,000 to be eligible. To continue this landmark program, the budget includes $118 million to support an estimated 27,000 students in the Excelsior program. Along with other sources of tuition assistance, including the generous New York State Tuition Assistance Program, the Excelsior Scholarship will allow approximately 53 percent of full-time SUNY and CUNY in-state students, or more than 210,000 New York residents, to attend college tuition-free when fully phased in.

Protecting the Health & Safety of Our Communities

Governor Cuomo is committed to expanding access to quality and affordable health care for all New Yorkers. From redesigning Medicaid to reduce costs and improve care, to embracing the Affordable Care Act and enrolling nearly one in five New Yorkers through the state’s marketplace, Governor Cuomo has transformed health care in New York State. This year, New York will continue to expand access to affordable and quality health care across the State while tackling the major health challenges facing our communities.

• Establish an Opioid Epidemic Surcharge:  New York State, like much of the country, is battling a harrowing opioid epidemic. The Executive Budget imposes a new surcharge of 2 cents per milligram of active opioid ingredient on prescription drugs, directing all proceeds to the Opioid Prevention and Rehabilitation Fund. This new fund will expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services, with the express goal of cutting opioid-related deaths in half by 2021.

• Preserving the Children’s Health Insurance Program: Congress has yet to pass long-term funding for CHIP, which directs Federal support to Child Health Plus, a successful program that has provided health coverage to approximately 350,000 children in New York State. Should funding be allowed to lapse for the program many of these children may lose health insurance coverage. The FY 2018 Budget authorizes program modifications, if necessary, to preserve CHIP.

• Establish a Health Care Insurance Windfall Profit Fee: The Federal tax plan gives health insurers a 40 percent cut on their corporate taxes while also transferring health care costs to the State. Accordingly, the Budget imposes a 14 percent surcharge on health insurer gains to recapture $140 million of those corporate tax savings and reinvest it in vital health care services for New Yorkers.

• Support Direct Care Workers and Not-for-Profits: The Budget includes funding of $262 million, an annual increase of $237 million, to support the 6.5 percent salary increase provided to direct care professionals (3.25 percent in January 1, 2018 and 3.25 percent in April 1, 2018) as well as the April 1, 2018 3.25 percent salary increase for clinical workers employed by not-for-profit organizations rendering mental hygiene services on behalf of OPWDD, OMH or OASAS.

Driving Economic Growth & Development

The Executive Budget continue the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) to develop long-term regional strategic economic development plans. Since then, the REDCs have awarded $5.4 billion to more than 6,300 projects. This strategy has resulted in 220,000 new or retained jobs in New York. The Executive Budget includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for an eighth round of REDC awards totaling $750 million.

• Launch Next Round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative: The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families. Participating communities are nominated by the State’s ten REDCs based on the downtown’s potential for transformation. Through two rounds of awards, each winning community was awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization. The FY 2019 Executive Budget provides $100 million for the Downtown Revitalization Program Round III.

To see more on the budget proposal, click here.

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Hawley seeks delay in pistol permit recertification deadline
Staff Reports Posted 16 January 2018 at 3:06 pm

As a result of new pistol permit recertification requirements that are in effect this year for the first time due to the SAFE Act, Gov. Cuomo’s controversial gun control measure passed in 2013, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) has joined a host of bi-partisan legislators from both the Assembly and Senate in writing to Gov. Cuomo requesting that the recertification deadline within the NY Safe Act be extended.

Recent changes to New York State Penal Law require license holders to recertify every five years. Individuals who were issued a Pistol /Revolver License before January 15, 2013, must recertify by January 31, 2018. The deadline to recertify for those issued a license on or after January 15, 2013, is five years from the date the license was issued.

There are currently about 1.2 million pistol permit holders in New York State, but only around 230,000 have recertified as of Jan. 2, 2018, Hawley said.

“We are urging you to extend the pistol permit deadline, which would allow the County Clerks and Sheriffs of this State the appropriate amount of time to process recertification requests,” Hawley and other legislators wrote to the governor. “We believe this action will help law-abiding gun owners comply with the current law, without the risk of turning them into felons overnight.”

Hawley has consistently voiced his opposition to the SAFE Act since 2013 as an infringement on constitutional rights and the fact that the bill was rammed through the Legislature in the middle of the night by use of a Message of Necessity by Gov. Cuomo, overriding the mandated three-day aging process of legislation before it is voted upon.

“The SAFE Act was one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen as a state legislator,” Hawley said. “It was rushed through the legislative process under the cover of darkness and hidden from public criticism using a technique that is supposed to be reserved for emergencies.”

“Despite the problems with this legislation, it is important that gun owners adhere to the law and do not lose their pistol certifications,” Hawley continued. “We are seeing many local governments overburdened with paperwork, and they need more time to get the word out and ensure that law-abiding gun owner can comply with new regulations. I implore Gov. Cuomo to extend the deadline in light of these many concerns.”

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Report suggests fees for plastic bags or banning them
Staff Reports Posted 16 January 2018 at 12:24 pm

ALBANY – A Task Force looking at the “scourge of plastic bag waste” in New York has sent a report to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature for consideration.

The Task Force has eight options for reducing plastic bags, including banning them or charging a fee for each bag.

Across New York, residents use 23 billion plastic bags annually. A significant number of these bags make their way into the environment causing litter and damaging wildlife, which can be seen within our waterways, along our streets and in our oceans and lakes. Moreover, these bags do not biodegrade – they persist for years.

“As states across the nation and world struggle with the environmental and financial costs of plastic bag waste, New York is developing a comprehensive solution,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation and chairman of New York’s Plastic Bag Task Force.

Convened in March 2017, the Task Force was directed to study the growing issue of plastic bag waste and develop a comprehensive statewide plan to address the detrimental impact plastic bags have on the environment.

The options to address plastic bag waste in the report include:

• Strengthen and enforce existing New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act – Continue implementation of the existing New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act while increasing education, enforcement and reporting requirements.

• Manufacturer Responsibility for Recycling of Single-Use Plastic Bags – Require manufacturers to fund and implement a program for the collection and recycling of single-use plastic bags.

• Fee on Single-Use Plastic Bags – Institute a fee on single-use plastic bags.

• Fee per Transaction for Single-Use Bags – Under this option, rather than a fee per bag, a single fee would be imposed for the use of single-use bags (i.e., a fee would be assessed whether a consumer received one bag or 10 bags).

• Fee on Single-Use Plastic and Paper Bags

• Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags – Implement a ban on the sale and use of single-use plastic bags.

• Hybrid – Implement a ban on plastic bags with a fee on the allowable alternatives.

• Continue Existing Policies – Continue implementation of the existing New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act.

In addition, the report notes the need for any approach taken to include an education and outreach campaign to make consumers aware of the problems ‎with plastic bags for the environment and waste stream, encourage the use of reusable bags and how to properly recycle plastic bags.

As part of the education and outreach campaign, the report recommends providing funds to support the distribution of reusable bags with a focus on low and fixed income individuals. If the policy approach taken includes fees, the report suggests that any funding received by the State be dedicated to the Environmental Protection Fund.

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Holley, Kendall schools will take the Polar Plunge
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2018 at 11:58 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Holley Central School last year sent a team, including Principal Susan Cory, left, and Assistant Principal Dan Courtney, right, to the Polar Plunge. The Holley team raised $980. Holley had about 30 students, and several staff members jump into the lake.

Students and staff at Kendall and Holley schools are again planning to take the Polar Plunge at Lake Ontario to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Holley has set a $1,000 fundraising goal and Kendall is trying to top $2,000 on Feb. 11 when people jump into the lake at Ontario Beach Park at Charlotte.

Last year about 2,000 people joined in the Rochester Polar Plunge and raised nearly $222,000 for the Special Olympics.

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Nominations sought for Heritage Heroes in Orleans County

Photo by Tom Rivers: Richard and Shirley Nellist are pictured at Boxwood Cemetery in Medina last May. The couple was honored as “Heritage Heroes” for their efforts in preparing detailed records for the 11 cemeteries in the Town of Ridgeway – over 11,000 burials all told, which are now loaded into the Orleans County Genweb system online and available for anyone doing genealogical research. They are active members of the Medina Historical Society.

Posted 16 January 2018 at 10:22 am

Press Release, GCC

Now in its fifth year, Genesee Community College and the Orleans Hub are proud to continue the Orleans County Heritage Heroes Awards which recognize the dedication and hard work of dedicated citizens who strive to protect and preserve local history. They are now seeking nominations for the awards. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 19.

“One of the most remarkable aspects of living in Orleans County is the many people who share a vested interest in our local heritage,” said Jim Simon, associate dean of GCC’s Orleans County Campus Centers in Medina and Albion. “Now in our fifth consecutive year, we recognize the time and investment of individuals who work tirelessly to preserve and protect our local history-be it oral or written histories, as well as the people, places, artifacts, buildings or landmarks in our homeland.”

Nominees for Heritage Heroes Awards can be any age but posthumous nominations will not be accepted. History professionals and GCC employees are also not eligible for the award, nor are those who serve on the awards selection committees. Nominees must be Orleans County residents.

The six winners honored last year included: Jim Hancock, Ken McPherson, Richard and Shirley Nellist, Gretchen Sepik, and Alice Zacher received the special C.W. “Bill” Lattin Award for Excellence in Municipal History. Because nominations are not retained for future consideration, residents who made previous nominations are encouraged to re-submit a nominee again for this coming year.

“The Heritage Heroes Awards program recognizes the members of our community who are dedicated to preserving the local treasures that add to the quality of life and character of our community,” Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub editor said. “These residents are from all over the county and they work hard on restoring historic houses and protecting numerous community assets such as museums, churches, monuments and numerous buildings that make up our unique landscape.”

To nominate someone for the Heritage Heroes Awards, write up a brief statement outlining the person’s contributions, projects and community affiliations. Anyone sending in a nomination should provide their name (anonymous nomination packages will not be accepted), address, phone number and email address. The more in-depth the detail provided in the nomination, the stronger the submission. Submit the nomination to:

ATTENTION: Heritage Heroes Committee

Genesee Community College / Medina Campus Center

11470 Maple Ridge Rd.Medina, NY 14103-9675

Nominations may also be emailed to Jim Simon at Please write Heritage Heroes Nomination in the subject line.

A screening committee made up of community members, history professionals and GCC students will review the nominations and select finalists. From those finalists, a committee including GCC Associate Dean Jim Simon, Associate Professor Derek Maxfield and Orleans Hub Editor Tom Rivers will choose the Heritage Heroes.

“The Heritage Heroes Awards is a point of pride in our community, and the ceremony is always a highlight of my year,” Prof. Maxfield said. “Recognizing the unsung heroes who work hard to ensure local history survives into the next generations is vitally important to the cultural life of our community.”

The Heritage Heroes will be recognized during a ceremony at Genesee Community College in Medina in April 2018.

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Kast honored as ‘Next Generation Farm’

Photo from NYS Ag Society: Pictured from left include at the New York State Agricultural Society meeting in Syracuse on Jan. 4 include from left: Commissioner Richard Ball, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets; John and Cheryl Kast; Amanda and Brett Kast; Elizabeth Claypoole, NYS Ag Society; Mark Modzeleski, The Voss Group, award sponsor.

Staff Reports Posted 16 January 2018 at 9:31 am

Brett and John Kast embrace new technology, apple varieties and other crops

Press Release, NYS Agricultural Society

SYRACUSE – An Albion farm was recognized recently with a “Next Generation Farmer Award” at the New York State Agricultural Society annual meeting.

Kast Farms is a Century Farm dating back to 1884. Brett and John Kast are brothers who represent the fifth family generation to operate this diversified fruit, vegetable and grain operation in Orleans County.

Using new precision technology, partnering with Cornell University and others, and trying their hand at experimental crops like industrial hemp has enabled the brothers to uniquely challenge the status quo to help grow farm profitability, the Ag Society said.

The Kast family got their start in farming in 1884 when Aldelbert Chapman purchased the original 140-acre farmstead. Since that time, the Albion-based operation has grown to 4,500 acres. It’s a diversified fruit, vegetable, and grain operation that takes full advantage of Orleans County soil and climate afforded by its proximity to Lake Ontario.

John and Brett Kast pursued separate careers off the farm prior to returning home within the last 10 years. Until 2012, John was employed by the Buffalo and Fort Worth zoos. Brett worked in the Texas oil business before returning in 2008. The family business has immediately felt their combined impact. Owned and leased orchard acreage has increased, and the brothers created their own land limited liability corporation, adding another 600 acres of crop land.

Using new precision technology has allowed the pair to put their own stamp on Kast Farms, including prescription planting, fertilizing and spraying. Working with Cornell University and others, new consumer-friendly apples such as RubyFrost and SnapDragon are being grown on tall spindles and the future may dictate even more diverse varieties. For the past four years, Kast Farms has been malting barley and growing industrial hemp. Partnering with Farm Fresh First, they’ve expanded into spinach production, all with an eye to adapt and drive efficiencies for where customers and new markets are driving.

Both brothers believe that having off-the-farm work experience has enabled them to uniquely challenge the status quo to help grow farm profitability. But they’re quick to look to long time employees, vendors and Cornell to mine for new ideas, efficiencies and mentoring. “It’s this combination that has allowed the farm to continue to grow and be profitable,” John said.

Established in 1832, the mission of the NYS Agricultural Society is to foster, promote, and improve the NYS food and agricultural industry through education, leadership development and recognition programs. It has played a vital role in the development of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, the NYS Fair, and the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute (LEAD NY). In 2011, the NYS Agricultural Society Foundation was formed.

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County legislator says best future for Parkway is improved maintenance as current 4-lane highway
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2018 at 4:21 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Lake Ontario State Parkway in Orleans County has suffered from deteriorating road conditions in recent years, which has deterred some motorists from using the road. A study is looking at the future of the Parkway.

An Orleans County legislator believes keeping the Lake Ontario State Parkway in its current form as a four-lane divided highway offers the best benefit for the Orleans County and likely makes the most sense for the state financially.

Ken DeRoller, a county legislator and member of the board of directors for the Orleans Economic Development Agency, is part of a committee looking at the future of the Parkway in Orleans County.

The Genesee Transportation Council in Rochester and the county are studying the future of the Parkway, looking at possible alternatives for the westernmost 12.7 miles of the Parkway that runs along the lake through Kendall and part of Carlton.

One idea was to close the northern side, currently the western lanes, and have the Parkway be a regular two-lane state road on the south side. That could free up the northern side for possible housing development. Except, DeRoller said, there wouldn’t be enough room to accommodate new development because the road is too close to the lake.

DeRoller said the idea of lakefront housing by the northern lanes of the parkway “is a fallacy.”

“There is not enough room to build on the north side,” DeRoller told the EDA board on Friday.

The Transportation Council also is considering closing off either the north or south sides to traffic and designating one side for cyclists and snowmobiles. But DeRoller said snow doesn’t seem to “stick” too well on the Parkway surface.

And the state would need to modify the interchanges if traffic was allowed on only one side. The cost of redoing the interchanges might negate any maintenance savings from closing off one side to traffic, DeRoller said.

The committee looking at the Parkway also is considering a reduced speed of 40 miles per hour for the Parkway, or perhaps an elevated speed limit to make the road faster for motorists.

DeRoller told the EDA board he favors more maintenance and paving in the current Parkway setup. He thinks the roadway should be better marketed as a connector to popular state parks at Lakeside Beach in Carlton and Hamlin Beach. Those two state parks together draw 443,000 visitors annually, DeRoller said. They each have about 250 camp sites.

The state Department of Transportation last year resurfaced the Parkway from Route 19 in Hamlin to Payne Beach Road in Parma. This year the resurfacing will continue west from Route 19 in Hamlin to Route 237 in Kendall in 2018. Altogether, the DOT is spending about $14 million on the paving projects.

DeRoller sees the road – when it’s in good shape – as an asset for the county, leading to the state park in Carlton, sites at Point Breeze, and a revamped marina and other businesses in Kendall.

“It’s very important to our southshore and tourism,” DeRoller said about the Parkway.

To complete a survey about the future of the Parkway, click here.

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Medina library hosts ‘show and tell’ program of local historical items
Staff Reports Posted 15 January 2018 at 3:05 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Historical Society will hold its annual “Show and Tell” meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library.

Historical Society members and non-members are invited to bring along their treasures from the past to share at this popular program.

There are no rigid criteria, but items pertaining to Medina history are of special interest. Items shared at the 2017 meeting included: a unique mouse-trap, an early hair dryer and curling iron, a glass medicine bottle from the Opera House Pharmacy dated 1898, a H. Burton hand-made plate, a Dye Cold Storage poster, a slipper chair for rocking a baby, glass negatives of the Erie Canal, postcards, a Civil War pin, World War I military items and a diphtheria quarantine sign.

“This is such a fun evening,” said Reinhard Rogowski, president of the Historical Society. “There are surprises every year and always a few mystery items. Between us, we can even solve some of those mysteries. We look forward to welcoming some new members.”

The library is located at 620 West Ave., Medina.

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Grants available to help fund events, festivals along canal

Photo by Tom Rivers: A woman uses a Hydro-Bike in the Medina Canal Basin on Aug. 10 near the Lois McClure. The 88-foot-long boat was built like a replica of one from 1862. It doesn't have an engine and is pulled by a tugboat. Medina celebrated the boat’s visit with a series of events over two days.

Staff Reports Posted 15 January 2018 at 12:24 pm

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, is offering a limited number sponsorships up to $500 for events or festivals taking place in the National Heritage Corridor from May through November 2018.

Qualifying events must promote or celebrate the distinctive historic, cultural, scenic, or recreational assets of the canal corridor.

Eligible applicants include municipalities and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Applications are due by February 16.

The bicentennial period (1817-1825) of the canal system continues in 2018, which also marks the centennial of the currently operating NYS Canal System (Barge Canal). Events that mark these anniversaries will be given priority consideration for funding.

“We  are also placing increasing emphasis on recreational experiences that help people explore and enjoy the waterway, Canalway Trail, and surrounding communities and heritage assets,” the Heritage Corridor said in a news release. “Cycling, paddling, adaptive sports, hiking/walking events will be given priority consideration.”

For more information on the grants, including an application, click here.

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Lyndonville school and library partnering with storytelling workshops
Staff Reports Posted 15 January 2018 at 11:59 am

Provided photo

LYNDONVILLE – The school district and the public library are partnering on a storytelling workshop series. Rick Merritt, the workshop instructor, is pictured with fourth-graders when the series kicked off on Jan. 2 at Yates Community Library. Merritt combines science and activities in the workshops. His other workshops will be at classrooms at the school.

He has been a frequent presenter at the library as part of a summer reading challenge.

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2 schools work with GCASA to step up drug prevention efforts

Photo by Tom Rivers: Diana Fulcomer, a prevention educator with the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, is pictured with Jason Smith, superintendent of Lyndonville Central School. Fulcomer has been spending at least a day of week at the district this school year.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2018 at 10:24 am

‘We’re trying to prevent kids from using the drugs that are killing people.’

Two school districts have increased the presence of prevention educators from the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Lyndonville and Medina both have GCASA staff in school buildings at least a day a week this school year. Diana Fulcomer has been working out of Lyndonville and Tracy Zakes has been connecting with Medina students.

“It’s been a great program,” said Jason Smith, superintendent of Lyndonville Central School. “I appreciate the partnership with GCASA.”

Fulcomer and Zakes have age-specific programs, as well as workshops for parents.

The educators teach students about the dangers of addictive substances. Fulcomer in some of her presentations focuses on making healthy choices, which includes getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods and not spending too much time on social media.

Smith said he supports the expanded message – coping skills and making good choices.

“If the students are having issues with anxiety, we don’t want them turning to substances,” he said.

Lyndonville and Medina are both paying GCASA $3,500 this school year to have a prevention educator work out of the district.

Mark Kruzynski, Medina superintendent, said Zakes spends at least a day a week at the district. She meets with at-risk high schoolers and other students. She starts with students as young as third grade, teaching communication skills to those elementary students and urging them not to express their anger and frustration through violence.

“It’s going very well,” Kruzynski said about the partnership with GCASA. “Not only do we have the opioid epidemic, but kids today are exposed to so many things.”

Zakes some days spends a solid workday in the district, and other days might only be there a short time. Zakes has been a big asset in helping the district educate students about the dangers of drugs, he said.

“We’re trying to prevent kids from using the drugs that are killing people,” Kruzynski said.

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Lyndonville Leo Club collecting pet supplies for animal shelter
Staff Reports Posted 14 January 2018 at 7:02 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The Leo Club at Lyndonville Central School welcomes the community to drop off pet supplies at the main office of the school from Jan. 16-31. The school is located at 25 Housel Ave.

The supplies will be delivered to the Orleans County Animal Shelter, where students will also spend time with some of the cats and dogs at the shelter, 4125 Oak Orchard Rd., Albion.

The Leo Club welcomes used and new supplies. For more information, contact Aimee Chaffee at (585)765-2251 ext. 3143 or

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3 villages have elections on March 20
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2018 at 2:48 pm

Positions include mayors in Albion and Medina

Three villages in Orleans County will have elections on March 20. The positions on the ballot include the mayoral posts in Albion and Medina.

Albion has three positions up for election. Mayor Dean London has said he doesn’t intend to seek re-election. Trustees Eileen Banker and Stan Farone also have their trustee spots on the ballot. The Republican and Democratic parties will hold caucuses to nominate candidates. The mayor and trustees are all four-year terms.

In Medina, Mayor Mike Sidari and Trustees Marguerite Sherman and Tim Elliott have their positions on the ballot. The terms are for two years. Residents need to have petitions signed by at least 100 registered voters in the village to be on the ballot. The deadline for submitting petitions to the Village Office’s is Feb. 13.

Lyndonville only has one position up for election. It’s to fill a one-year term as trustee on the Village Board.

Holley is the other village in Orleans County. Holley holds its elections in June.

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Freezing temperatures will persist for most of week
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2018 at 1:55 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Icicles hang off a building on Main Street in Elba this morning when the temperature was about 10 degrees.

The cold temperatures will persist this week with most days not getting above freezing, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

Today is forecast for a high of 16, followed by highs of 22 on Monday (Martin Luther King Day), 26 on Tuesday, 21 on Wednesday, 26 on Thursday, 33 on Friday and 40 on Saturday.

The snow storm from Friday through Saturday dropped 9 inches on Holley and 8.2 inches on Medina, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Penfield had the most snow, 16 inches, among the neighboring counties.

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Barre town supervisor’s retirement party set for Saturday
Staff Reports Posted 14 January 2018 at 8:45 am

BARRE – The retirement party Mark Chamberlain is now set for Saturday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Barre Town Hall.

The celebration was planned for last Saturday but was cancelled due to the temperatures at about 0 degrees.

Chamberlain, a retired chemistry teacher at Albion Central School, served as Barre town supervisor following his career as a teacher.

He was influential in expanding and modernizing the town hall, creating new water districts, and developing a new town park on Route 98.

Chamberlain didn’t seek re-election in November. Sean Pogue won a three-way race for town supervisor and took office on Jan. 1.

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