Landmark Society honors Bill Lattin, Cobblestone Museum for stewardship of historic sites
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2021 at 8:07 pm

Fancher Memorial restoration also recognized by preservation organization

Photos by Tom Rivers: Bill Lattin, in this photo from August 2015, paints the trim on a window of the Gaines Basin Schoolhouse, a former one-room schoolhouse he helped to save from the brink of ruin.

ROCHESTER – The Landmark Society of Western New York is honoring Bill Lattin for a lifetime achievement award for his decades of work preserving numerous local sites, and his efforts to highlight local history.

The Landmark Society also will present a stewardship award to the Cobblestone Museum for its 60 years as a caretaker of properties that are a National Historic Landmark.

The Town of Murray also is receiving a special citation for its effort to restore the Fancher War Memorial on Route 31 in Fancher, a monument to 10 soldiers killed in World War II.

The awards will be presented during a virtual ceremony on Dec. 12.

Bill Lattin – Jean France Special Achievement Award

Lattin will receive the Jean France Special Achievement Award which recognizes “accomplishments that have occurred over a lengthy period of time.”

Lattin has been a caretaker and storyteller of Orleans County history for the past 50 years. He is officially retired as Orleans County historian and Cobblestone Museum director. He served in those roles for 35 years. (He retired from the museum in 2010 and from the county on Dec. 31, 2014.)

But he remains an active force in preserving important local sites and documenting history.

“Bill has advocated for local history for over six decades, through countless tours and publications,” the Landmark Society said. “The foremost authority on all aspects of Orleans County history, Bill continues his involvement with preservation and museum programming, lifetime commitments for this accomplished community activist.”

Bill Lattin welcomes visitors to the Vagg House on Nov. 7, 2020 following the Cobblestone Museum’s annual meeting. Lattin led the transformation of the Vagg House, at the corner of routes 98 and 104, into a home decorated in the 1920s and ’30s. Lattin spearheaded the restoration of many of the sites on the museum’s campus in the past 40 years.

After the Cobblestone Museum acquired the Vagg House at the corner of routes 98 and 104 last year, Lattin led the efforts to curate the former home of blacksmith Joe Vagg and his wife Nellie, who was active in the temperance movement. The house is filled with antiques and is decorated the in a 1920s, ’30s theme, with many of the early electrical appliances. Lattin even built an outhouse for the site to help it match the others on the museum’s grounds.

The Vagg House is a new “jewel” in the Cobblestone Museum’s crown, said Doug Farley, the museum’s current director. The house can be used for small gatherings of less than 30 people, such as meetings, rehearsal parties or teas, and other museum events.

In 2020, Lattin also helped relocate a log cabin built by Boy Scouts in 1930. It went from an Albion backyard to behind a cobblestone school built in 1832 on Gaines Basin Road. Lattin has been a key worker on saving that school in recent years. He has handyman skills and deep connections to rally the community to a cause. That school and the log cabin are recent examples. But that mission started long ago. He was a key leader of the Save the Tower committee that raised $30,000 in the mid-1970s for the Civil War Memorial at Mount Albion Cemetery. Lattin has given new life to many local structures.

Cobblestone Society and Museum – Stewardship Ward

The Cobblestone Museum will be honored with a stewardship award for its care of a campus that is a National Historic Landmark and includes this church that was built in 1834.

The Cobblestone Society and Museum will be presented the Stewardship Award for its efforts preserving and maintaining three cobblestone buildings – a church, a home and a school – on Route 104, and for saving other sites in the museum campus, including outhouses, a former town hall, harness shop, print shop and voting booth and other important community artifacts.

Kevin Breiner, a mason from Brockport, works on one of 14 new concrete piers underneath Farmers Hall at the Cobblestone Museum, in this photo from August 2019. The building was previously the Kendall Town Hall. It was taken apart and reassembled in 1978 at the Cobblestone Museum on Route 98. It’s one of several recent repair projects at the museum.

The Stewardship Award recognizes an individual or organization that has provided continued care of and commitment to the preservation of an architecturally and/or historically significant public property over a period of years.

“For 60 years, this organization has focused on the history and architecture of this iconic type of stone masonry,” the Landmark Society said. “Highlighted by one of the largest cobblestone churches in North America, their multiple-building campus is the only designated National Historic Landmark in Orleans County. The museum maintains an extensive archives, as well as the on-going Cobblestone Info Base, with data on all known cobblestone buildings in the U.S. and Canada.”

The museum recently announced it is working to acquire the 1834 “Brick House,” a stately red brick home with six fireplaces. The museum wants to put on an addition to make the site a visitor’s center with new modern bathrooms and meeting space for up to 100 people at the intersection of routes 98 and 104. The museum has raised more than $400,000 out of a $750,000 goal for the initiative.

The site would be an Orleans County welcome center and would promote businesses and other tourism sites in the county.

Fancher War Memorial – Special Citation

The Fancher Memorial was rededicated on Aug. 14. Richard Christopher of Albion places a commemorative wreath by the monument in Fancher. Richard is the son John Christopher, who was killed on November 26, 1943 when the transport ship carrying his unit was struck by a German glider bomb and sunk off the coast of Algeria. He was laid to rest at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunis, Tunisia. John’s brother Joseph also was killed during the war. Another pair of brothers from the Fancher community – Leonard and Martin Licursi – also died in the war.

The Landmark Society picked the restoration of the Fancher War Memorial for a Special Citation. The monument at the “Fancher Curve” on Route 31 honors 10 local soldiers who were killed in World War II.

The memorial is a four-faced clock in a stone monument made of local sandstone. It gradually deteriorated over 72 years.

The crumbling mortar was chipped out and replaced with new matching green mortar. New movements for the clocks and new electrical service were installed. The flag pole was painted. New sandstone pavers were added as a walkway on the north side of the property.

Neal Muscarella, a mason from Albion, chips away old and loose mortar on May 27 on the Fancher Clock, a World War II Memorial at the curve on Route 31 on the east side on Murray. Muscarella put in new mortar, matching the original color green. He said this is the only sandstone structure that he has seen with green mortar.

And a new bronze plaque was mounted on the north side near the flagpole. The original plaque remains, but it is on the west side facing the guardrails and wasn’t in an easy-to-see location for most people to know the true purpose of the monument.

“The restoration of this unique World War II memorial was achieved via a remarkable partnership of town government, local historical society and a former Fancher resident/philanthropist,” the Landmark Society said. “With repairs completed by local craftsmen, the Medina stone tower, with clock, was re-dedicated this year, exactly 72 years after its original dedication in 1949.”

Local mason Neal Muscarella replaced the mortar, matching it to the original green. Dan Mawn put in new electric.

The Fancher community built the memorial out of local Medina sandstone as a tribute to 10 local soldiers who died in World War II. Those soldiers include John Christopher, Joseph Christopher, Cosmo Coccitti, John Kettle, Jr., Leonard Licursi, Martin Licursi, Richard Merritt, Camille Nenni, Floyd Valentine and Richard Vendetta.

About 200 people attended the rededication ceremony on Aug. 14, including family of some of the soldiers honored with the monument.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said it should be clearer now that the site isn’t a municipal clock, but is a war memorial dedicated to local soldiers who died serving the country.

The project was funded with a donation from Fred Fiorito, a former local resident who now lives in the New York City area. He would typically home a few times each year to see family, including his brother Ted Fiorito. Fred noticed the memorial gradually deteriorate and wanted it to be a fitting tribute to the 10 soldiers.

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Orleans, with 329 active Covid cases, sets new high during pandemic
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2021 at 7:04 pm

Genesee second highest in NY with highest Covid positivity rate in past 7 days, while Orleans third highest

Orleans County has 329 active cases of Covid today, the most since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The 329 is up from the previous pandemic high of 315 on Thursday, according to data from the Genesee and Orleans County health Departments.

The county has 151 new confirmed cases since Thursday, and 135 more recoveries or people who completed their 10-day isolation and have been removed from mandatory isolation.

Orleans currently has 14 people hospitalized due to Covid, which is down from 17 on Thursday. The county is reporting another death from Covid, a person over age 65. That brings the total to 97 in Orleans County who have passed away due to Covid during the pandemic.

The number of active cases in Genesee County dropped from 243 on Thursday to 226 today, even though the county has 236 new confirmed cases in the past four days. The county also is reporting 250 more recoveries.

Genesee has 35 people hospitalized due to Covid, down from 39 on Thursday. The county is also reporting two more death due to Covid, a person under age 65 and one over 65. That brings the total deaths from Covid in Genesee to 146.

Genesee County also the second highest Covid positivity rate in the state over 7 days. Genesee’s rate is at 14.0 percent, about three times the state rate of 4.8 percent. Lewis County has the highest positive rate at 14.5 percent and Orleans is third highest at 13.7 percent.

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Shelby town meetings will be virtual this month
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2021 at 4:05 pm

SHELBY – The Shelby Town Board meetings this month will be virtual with no in-person attendance from the public.

The meetings will be virtual only on Dec. 14 and Dec. 30 due to the rise in local Covid cases, town officials said.

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Old Holley High School restoration earns top preservation award from Landmark Society
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2021 at 11:40 am

$17 million project turned long-vacant structure into 41 apartments, village offices

Photos by Tom Rivers: The former Holley High School was given a major transformation, including new columns, and a conversion into apartments and the village offices, while preserving some of the original characteristics of the school.

HOLLEY – The $17 million transformation of the former Holley High School has won the top preservation award by the Landmark Society of Western New York.

Home Leasing, developer of the project, will receive the Barber Conable Award during a presentation on Dec. 12. The award recognizes a large-scale rehabilitation of a historic building that was completed within the past two years.

The cover of Landmarks, the magazine of the Landmark Society of Western New York, features the old Holley High School which has been turned into the Holley Gardens by Home Leasing.

The award was created to honor the late Congressman Barber Conable of Genesee County, who pushed to establish the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program for the rehabilitation of historic, income-producing buildings.

The Holley school had been vacant and neglected for nearly three decades. It was last used by a manufacturer that went bankrupt in the mid-1990s.

“This impressive rehabilitation is the result of a talented team that included an exceptional developer, veteran contractor, supportive local officials and experienced preservation consultants, who tackled a daunting list of challenges to complete this remarkable $17 million project,” the Landmark Society stated in announcing the award.

Home Leasing Corp. teamed with Edgemere Development LLC to rehabilitate a building from 1931. The Landmark Society called the structure, last used as a school in 1975, “of the most important civic buildings in Orleans County.”

The site was converted into 41 mixed-income apartments and the new administrative headquarters of the village of Holley. The project was completed using the Historic Investment Tax Credits for buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The project in 2020 won one of 11 New York State Historic Preservation Awards.

For many years it pained the Holley community to see its gradual demise – the many broken windows, peeling paint, rotted columns and a fate that seemed destined for the wrecking ball.

Holley village officials reached out to developers over the years, pitching the site for apartments and other uses. But a deal never came together – until 2018.

Home Leasing and Home Leasing Construction in Rochester committed to transforming the building into 41 apartments for seniors and the Holley village offices, with the auditorium space being a meeting room.


The old school, shown during a recent evening, has been a major uplift to the community. The school is located along Route 31, one of the county’s most travelled roads.

Here is how the building looked in May 2018. Contractors removed the trees coming out of the façade, and put back columns in the front, among the many extensive upgrades.

A worker cleans in the stairwell at the former Holley High School on April 1, 2020. The original railings were saved as part of the construction project.

Here is how the hallways looked in April 2020 after most of the work was done. The old lockers were included as a decorative touch and to connect to the building’s original use.

The main meeting room is pictured in August 2020, after the village relocated its offices to the space. Home Leasing was able to refurbish about 70 seats from the old auditorium. There are also about 40 seats up in the balcony that are for display and aren’t available to the public.

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Students make military dog tags for Operation Honor
Posted 6 December 2021 at 9:35 am

68 tags represent local veterans who passed away from October 2020 to October 2021

Press Release and photos from Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Bill Rakonczay’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) program were proud to help out Operation Honor of Orleans County.

Jenn Thom, co-leader of the organization, reached out to the class to see if they would design some military dog tags.

The Orleans Career and Technical Education Center class made 68 tags that represented the local veterans that passed away from October 2020 till October 2021. The tags will be placed on the tree in front of the library in Lyndonville. After the holidays the tags will be given to a member of the veteran’s family.

Three AME students were involved in this project: Bobby Vidovich (Medina) designed the tags and made the custom fixture to hold them. Nate Sauls (Newfane) programmed the Fusion 360 (a cloud based 3D modeling, CAD, CAM, CAE and PCB software platform for product design and manufacturing). Timmy Goerss (Newfane) ran the CNC Mill.

“It was such a proud moment to do such a special job for our local community,” says Mr. Rakonczay.

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Barre town meetings go virtual only due to Covid spread in community
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2021 at 9:21 am

BARRE – The Barre town meetings will be virtual only until further notice due to the community spread of Covid and the threat of a new variant for the virus, said Town Supervisor Sean Pogue.

The meetings won’t allow in-person attendance from the public, but they can still use the town’s YouTube channel or call in by phone to hear the meeting.

This includes Town Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings.

The Town Board has a workshop meeting today at 5 p.m. and regular board meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Planning Board meets the second Monday of the month.

To call in for the Town Board meetings, dial (585) 589-5100, enter 5 once the auto-attendant plays, with a pin of 4321 followed by #.

For the Planning Board meetings, call (585) 589-5100, then dial 402 when the auto-attendant answers followed by a pin of 6543 #.

For more information, click here to be directed to the town website.

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Dec. 18 Christmas celebration in Albion includes 1,000 free chicken dinners
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 December 2021 at 9:01 am

Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries, Best of Tymes Party Rentals teaming for holiday event at Arnold Gregory

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Best of Tymes Party Rentals and Royal Body Shop Ministry are joining forces to present a Christmas extravaganza on Dec. 18 at the Arnold Gregory Complex. Gathered around Santa Claus’ chair are, from left, Christine Nenni and Michelle Wiseman from Party Tyme Rentals, Royal Body Shop pastor Albert Wilson and his wife Ykeeta and Lisa DeCarlo of Albion, who owns Arnold’s Auto Parts with her husband Dan.

ALBION – An Albion business and a new ministry are planning a unique Christmas celebration for the community on Dec. 18.

Best of Tymes Party Rentals, owned by Christine Nenni and Michelle Wiseman of Medina, and the Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries, who each have quarters in the Arnold Gregory Complex, will present “Que In” for Christmas on the lawn at Arnold Gregory.

The event will run from noon to 6 p.m. and feature a takeout chicken barbecue cooked by Albion’s Renovation Masonic Lodge free to the first 1,000 people, a gift for each child, raffles, face painting and other activities. Also included is a drawing for a 43-inch TV. Tickets are now available at $5 each or three for $10 at Arnold’s Auto Parts and Best of Tyme Party Rentals. All proceeds go back to the church for future community events. Best of Tymes Party Rentals will provide free hot chocolate, and horse and buggy rides will be available.

Michelle Wiseman, left, and Christine Nenni from Best of Tymes Party Rentals stand next to the Santa mailbox outside their store on the second floor of the Arnold Gregory Complex.

In addition to Santa and Mrs. Claus, Que In for Christmas will feature the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who and Jolly Jingles Bear.

Spearheading Que In for Christmas is Pastor Albert D. Wilson Jr.’s church, Royal Body Shop Ministries. Wilson is director of 27 community centers in Buffalo and senior pastor of the Greater Royal Worship Center at 1355 Clinton St., Buffalo. Lisa DeCarlo is administrative assistant to the pastor and Dan is training to become a deacon in the Albion ministry. The DeCarlos are also members of his Buffalo church.

Wilson first became acquainted with Orleans County as a result of visiting the Royal Worship Church of God in Christ on Sawyer Road, Kent, which his grandfather founded in 1952. He and Lisa DeCarlo were having coffee at HeBrews in Albion, where they talked to a young man who made Wilson realize there was a spiritual need in the community.

DeCarlos offered space to set up a tent and on a Friday night in August they had their first service in Albion. It was so successful, it continued every Friday night until cold weather was approaching and they realized they needed a warm place to meet.

Nenni and Lisa had been friends since high school, and Nenni told Lisa about the empty conference room at Arnold Gregory, which Wilson was able to rent.

Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries now holds a service in the conference room at 7 p.m. every Friday night, and want the entire community to feel welcome there. Currently the room is set up with a throne for Santa and a holiday display.

The name for his new ministry, Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries, comes from his affiliation with Arnold’s Auto Parts. Its purpose is to work on the mind, body, soul and spirit, he said. The pastor is assisted by his wife Ykeeta and son Albert III. The depend upon donations to fund their ministry, and donation baskets are located throughout the community.

Giving to the community on holidays is nothing new for Best of Tymes Party Rental. Nenni and Wiseman started giving out goodie bags of treats to children last year on Halloween and Christmas from their home on State Street in Medina. They also handed out free cotton candy and popcorn and offered pictures with Santa.

They also have a Santa mailbox set up in the hall outside their second floor store in the Arnold Gregory building. Every child who writes a letter to Santa and includes his address will get a reply, Nenni said. Another small Santa mailbox is set up outside their Medina home.

Pastor Wilson plans to continue doing events to bring people in the community together, he said. They plan to target low poverty areas. Lisa will be giving out gift cards at Save-A-Lot beginning at noon on Dec. 11.

“It’s all about spreading love and holiday cheer,” the pastor said.

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Medina 8th-graders embrace philanthropy for class project
Posted 6 December 2021 at 8:23 am

Provided photos: Cayden Manners, Madison Farley, Hagen Van Leuven, Allie Smith and Macenzie Sword are shown with a “Protect Our Planet it’s the only One We’ve Got” banner.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – Medina High School teacher Krista Lindke was pleasantly surprised at the response from her 8th grade High School and Beyond students for a recent class activity.

“The activity that I assigned was a philanthropy project about kindness and the spirit of giving,” she said. “For six days, the class broke into three groups: People, Animals, and the Environment and they had to complete three tasks each and choose an organization to donate to.”

Robert Lechner, Dominic Waring and Milo Vidovich are shown with pet food that was donated to the Niagara County SPCA.

The People team collected numerous winter clothing items and delivered them to the Batavia Salvation Army. They made Thanksgiving cards for the residents at Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and gifted candy to the nursing staff. They also made “Help a Teacher” tickets for the 8th grade teachers.

The Animal team collected and donated several cans/boxes of dog and cat food and delivered them to the Niagara County SPCA. They also crafted and delivered dog blankets to the Niagara County SPCA. In addition they constructed a couple feral cat boxes and placed them in the community and dog treats were distributed to the teachers for their pets or their neighbors’.

“Environmental Pledge” Picture: Trevon Shine and Tatianna Maxon were among 100 students who took the “No More Straws” pledge and picked up litter after school.

The Environment team collected over 1,000 can/bottle returns and donated the proceeds to the Nature Conservancy. Birdseed baggies were put together and distributed to the teachers. They had 100 people sign a “No More Straws” pledge sheet and they picked up litter after school.

“This was such an impactful activity for my class,” said Mrs. Lindke.  “The students really went above and beyond and their kindness was definitely abundant.  I am very proud of them!  We also could not have done it without the help of the wonderful teachers and staff at MHS!”

Milo Vidovich, Mackenzie Poynter and Alex Klinzing are shown with blankets that were given to the Salvation Army in Batavia.

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Albion’s Community Christmas Concert returns for in-person celebration
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2021 at 11:21 pm

Photos courtesy of Susan Starkweather Miller

ALBION – The First Presbyterian Church of Albion hosted the annual Community Christmas Concert, which featured many Albion alumni, current students and other community members.

The top photo shows the Albion High School Christmas Choir singing, “Cold December Flies Away.” The group is directed by Connor Doran.

Last year’s concert wasn’t in-person for attendance and instead was recorded and available to watch online. Today’s concert was recorded and will be available on the Albion Alumni Association website. Proceeds from the concert go to the First Presbyterian Church and Albion Alumni Association.

Gary Simboli, an Albion graduate and retired music teacher, performed “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and also led the crowd in “Sleigh Ride.”

Cheyenna Eagle sings “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

Jackie Madejski performs “Beautiful City.”

Eric Deiboldt sings “Christmas Song/Christmas Time is Here.”

Dylan DeSmit offers a rendition of “Hallelujah it’s Christmas.”

Erin Moody and Kailey Winans sing “Winter Wonderland/Let it Snow.”

Other performers included: Christmas Brass, Carrie Kozody, Denise Thomas, Annabella Salisbury, Elijah Martin, Mike Thaine, AHS Tuba Ensemble, Alec Sherman, Maarit Vaga and Darryl Smith and Victor Benjovsky.

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Weekly high school sports schedule
By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 December 2021 at 4:53 pm

The start of Genesee Region League boys and girls basketball competition and the holding of Lyndonville’s annual Fred Large Memorial Wrestling Tournament will highlight the upcoming week of local high school sports action.

The week’s schedule is as follows:

Monday
Boys Basketball – Kendall at Barker, Wheatland-Chili at Lyndonville, 6 p.m.; Holley at Mt. Morris, 7 p.m.

Tuesday
Swimming – Medina at Byron-Bergen, Roy-Hart at HAC, Albion at Wheatland-Chili, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball – Albion at Byron-Bergen, Roy-Hart at Pembroke, 7 p.m.

Wednesday
Wrestling – Byron-Bergen at Albion, 6 p.m.
Swimming – Barker at Notre Dame, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball – Barker at Lyndonville, 6:30 p.m.; RAC at Kendall, 7 p.m.

Thursday
Boys Basketball – Kendall at Pembroke, Oakfield-Alabama at Holley, 7 p.m.
Girls Basketball – Notre Dame at Albion, 6:30 p.m.

Friday
Boys Basketball – CCA at Medina, 6:30 p.m.; Roy-Hart at Notre Dame, Albion at Byron-Bergen, 7 p.m.
Girls Basketball – Lyndonville at Wheatland-Chili, Holley at Oakfield-Alabama, Pembroke at Kendall, 7 p.m.

Saturday
Wrestling – Lyndonville Fred Large Memorial Tournament, 9 a.m.

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Sheriff’s Office, Albion and Lyndonville PD participate in Shop with a Cop at Walmart
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2021 at 2:51 pm

Photos and information courtesy of Orleans County Sheriff’s Office

ALBION – Orleans County Undersheriff Jeff Gifaldi, left, and deputy James White join in “Shop with a Cop” at Walmart in Albion.

The Sheriff’s Office and the Albion and Lyndonville Police Departments joined with the Orleans County Office of Child and Family Services in the outing.

Investigator Shannon Breet and corrections officer Dawn Basinait were part of the Sheriff’s Office that escorted kids through the Walmart store, assisting them with picking out items that they would like to help their families or be that could be used a gift for a family member.

Law enforcement encouraged the kids to think of others when picking out the items to buy. Walmart provided a $300 gift card to each of the ten families and some law enforcement members contributed their own money if they were a little short so all family members could receive a gift.

Walmart also provided an additional $1,000 in $50 gift cards to the law enforcement members to offer to shoppers in the store to make the holiday season a little better, said Sheriff Chris Bourke.

“I would personally like to thank Walmart on behalf of all law enforcement members,  Orleans County Child and Family Services and the families that took part in this year’s event,” Bourke said.

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Santa and Barre firefighters make holiday deliveries
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2021 at 12:19 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

BARRE – Santa Claus helps Jaxson Stefaniak, 3, unwrap a present of an Iron Man toy this morning as part of the Barre Volunteer Fire Company’s annual Santa Express.

Firefighters escorted Santa around town to visit 30 families and deliver presents.

Santa steps out of the fire truck to visit a family on Root Road. This is the seventh year the fire company has run the Santa Express.

People dropped off gift-wrapped presents at the firehall and those gifts are then delivered by firefighters and Santa.

Jaxson Stefaniak is excited to Santa standing on the family’s front lawn.

Jaxson and the other children also were given a chance to sit in the fire truck.

Firefighters say the Santa Express gives them a chance to see families for a good reason, rather than an emergency. It also helps children to meet the firefighters, who act as Santa’s elves today while delivering the gifts.

John Egloff, left, served as one of Santa’s elves and hands a gift to Gabe Rice, 6. Santa helped Gabe open the gift on the back of the fire truck.

Gabe Rice, 6, is happy to receive a toy train for a present.

The Barre firefighters split into two groups today while making their deliveries with Santa.

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Albion’s plans busy Hometown Holiday event for Dec. 11
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2021 at 9:01 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Santa is shown riding in a pickup truck last Dec. 19 down Chamberlain Street in Albion. He will be back this Saturday riding through neighborhoods and delivering presents.

ALBION — The Albion Merchants Association is planning its annual Hometown Holiday event on Saturday, Dec. 11, with activities throughout the day.

There will be a petting zoo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on at the Main Street municipal parking lot, a chance to decorate the new “Fat Albert” Christmas tree on the Courthouse Square beginning at 11 a.m. and a chance to see Santa driving through Albion neighborhoods beginning at 4 p.m.

Many of the businesses will be hosting activities including face painting, ornament kits, Christmas crafts, letters to Santa, a scavenger hunt, making reindeer dust, Coffee with Cops, free ice cream and a movie and stories with Santa.

The Hometown Holiday will be capped with the Fête de Nöel, a French-inspired gala at Maison Albion from 6 to 10 p.m.

The route for Santa will be starting on East Bank Street, then go to North Main, to Linwood Avenue then Brown Street, Lydun Drive, back to Brown then Caroline and Ingersoll streets, then East Bank, East State, Platt and East Park, then to McKinistry, Chamberlain, Main and West Bank, then King Street, Washington Street, Clinton, West Park, West Academy, West State and end on Main Street. Anyone who wants to donate presents to be given away by Santa can drop off the new toys at Toyz n Kandy, Studio 11 or the Coffee Joint.


Some Albion community members are also planning a “Santa’s Coming Home” parade of cars and trucks on Dec. 17. The public is welcome to decorate a vehicle and join in ride around the community.

Participants should meet at the Arnold Gregory Office Complex at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 with the procession of vehicles heading out at 6 p.m. This won’t be a parade with floats, but with decorated cars and trucks.

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High wind watch for Orleans County on Monday, with gusts up to 60 mph

Photos by Tom Rivers: Geese are shown in flight over Johnson Creek in Lyndonville on Saturday evening.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2021 at 8:04 am

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a high wind watch on Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for Orleans, Niagara, Monroe, northern Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

There will be southwest winds from 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 mph possible, the Weather Service said.

“Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines,” the Weather Service said. “Widespread power outages are possible. Travel could be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.”

Today the forecast is for a high of 39, followed by a high of 53 on Monday at about 9 a.m., with the temperature falling to around 38 the rest of the day.

Tuesday there is a chance for snow showers with a high of 31, followed by a chance of snow showers and a high near 33 on Wednesday.

An American flag is shown at Lyndonville Central School on Saturday evening.

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Lyndonville lights up 88 Christmas trees for holidays
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2021 at 8:59 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – This group checks out some of the Christmas trees that were lighted up for the first time this evening at Lyndonville’s Veterans Park.

A crowd gathered at just after 5 p.m. today when Lyndonville lighted up 88 Christmas trees at the park. Lyndonville village officials would like to reach 100 trees next year.

The tradition started in 2013 with 26 trees and has grown each year. The trees are decorated by local families, businesses and organizations.

“It’s quite a tribute to our little village and what great things we can do here,” said Wes Bradley, emcee for the event.

Before the electricity was turned on, Santa arrived in a horse-drawn carriage that was behind a Lyndonville fire truck.

Santa pulled a candy cane to turn on the power for the trees.

Meghan Gapa of Lyndonville wore a Grinch costume to add to the holiday fun.

There were events throughout the day. The trees will be out until about Jan. 1.

Santa met with kids in a setting outside the Yates Community Library. He used to meet with kids in the village hall and they could sit on his lap, but with Covid concerns the meet-and-greet was shifted outside with the children sitting down a few feet away from Santa.

Here are some more photos of the trees:

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