‘Ukrainian Tears’ expresses local sculptor’s anguish over destructive war

Photos by Tom Rivers: Richard Bannister, a sculptor, stands by a metal sculpture he placed on his property on Maple Avenue near Eagle Harbor Road. Bannister’s “Ukrainian Tears” was placed outside by the road on Saturday. He is hopeful it will be displayed in Ukrainian cultural centers in either Buffalo or Rochester.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2022 at 5:43 pm

BARRE – Richard Bannister fought in the Vietnam War more than a half century ago with the US Army. He hoped the world would never see such destruction and loss of life again.

Richard Bannister has been creating sculptures for more than 30 years. He said the “teardrop” sculpture just flowed out of him as he grieved the damage and loss of life after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and has continued an onslaught for nearly six months.

But Bannister watched the TV in horror on Feb. 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine. The Russian attacks haven’t stopped with unrelenting missile strikes that have caused more than $100 billion in damage to the Ukraine, displacing about 8 million Ukrainians.

“When I saw that it tore my heart out,” Bannister said today outside his home on Maple Avenue. “It’s 2022. This isn’t 1922 or 1822. What we’re seeing is evil.”

Bannister is a long-time sculptor, making creations out of steel, wood, marble and bronze. His most famous local work may be the Big Apple in Medina, a 20-foot-high sculpture of an apple by the Erie Canal near the Glenwood Avenue bridge.

Bannister has created a new 8-foot-high metal sculpture he calls “Ukrainian Tears.” He worked on it for two weeks, which he said is fast for a larger-scale piece. He said the metal that he bent and shaped fit together perfectly with less struggle than usual. The sculpture resembles a teardrop. Sometimes he works on a piece for more than a year.

“This just came from my soul,” he said about the artwork.

He painted it in the Ukraine national colors of gold and blue. On Saturday he placed the 500-pound sculpture by the road near his driveway on maple Avenue, just west of the Eagle Harbor Road intersection.

Bannister expects the sculpture will stay in Barre for a couple weeks. He would like it to have a bigger audience, perhaps at the Ukrainian cultural centers in Buffalo or Rochester.

Bannister earns his living running a peach thinning business where he travels to 17 states. But art and sculptures remain a passion.

He wants to create at least one outdoor piece a year to add to his property with the goal of having an art park at the site. Right now people driving by can see a 20-foot0high cactus and a 4-foot-high green apple that he made.

“As people go by and see them it changes their thought patterns,” Bannister said. “I’m just trying to activate their brain.”

Bannister said he hopes people driving will take note of the sculptor and reflect on the war.

Richard Bannister also has sculptures of a 20-foot-high cactus and 4-foot high apple on his wooded property. He would like to add outdoor sculptures to the site each year and create an art park.

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Ortt urges Hochul to update NY’s Covid guidance to be in line with CDC
Posted 17 August 2022 at 4:26 pm

Press Release, State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

ALBANY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt today sent a letter to Governor Hochul urging her administration to update the state’s guidance and emergency regulations to reflect recent changes made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“As you may know, the CDC recently updated its guidance to better reflect the progress made after understanding and combating the Covid-19 virus,” Ortt wrote. “Most notably, the CDC now recommends that those exposed to Covid-19 are no longer required to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, the CDC has also removed prior recommendations for social distancing and test-to-stay procedures in K through 12 schools and early childhood programs. Per the CDC, the new guidelines ‘help us to move to a point where Covid-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.’”

Ortt also pushed the governor to release Covid-19 guidelines in line with the CDC changes, without further delay as the new school year rapidly approaches and parents and school administrators have yet to receive guidelines for schools.

The governor recently extended her Covid-19 state of emergency this week, which has been in effect for nearly a full year.

“I strongly urge you to adopt the shift in approach taken by the CDC and update state guidance and emergency regulations to reflect its change in strategy in general,” Ortt said. “New Yorkers have suffered under this pandemic for over two years, and it is long overdue that our policies focus on protecting the most vulnerable from serious illness rather than broad restrictions on the public.”

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Spots still available for upcoming Patriot Trip to DC

Provided photo: Assemblyman Steve Hawley stands alongside veterans at the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C. during the 12th Patriot Trip in 2019.

Posted 17 August 2022 at 3:50 pm

Press Release, Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is announcing there are still several openings available to take part in his Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C. from Sept. 15 to 18.

Veterans and their family members will be hosted on a tour throughout the area to visit historical sites and landmarks constructed to pay tribute to their service and the nation they’ve fought for. This year’s trip will feature stops at war memorials and other notable locations, including the Arlington National Cemetery, and the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War memorials, with a stop in Gettysburg.

“Some of the most meaningful memories of my lifetime come from experiences I’ve had on our Patriot Trips witnessing heroes who’ve risked their lives to defend our country get to see the monuments built to honor their bravery and sacrifices,” Hawley said. “After having to pause the tour due to the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am very excited to begin our trips once more and encourage all interested to look into joining us on this incredibly meaningful journey.”

Participation in the trip is open to all military veterans and their family members and will cost between $425 to $500 per person. Those interested in participating in this year’s trip are encouraged to reach out to Assemblyman Hawley’s district office at 585-589-5780 for more details.

Hawley encourages those interested, or who know someone who might be interested but who may need financial assistance, to contact their local veterans’ services agency. They may be able to provide some assistance, so Hawley encourages those interested to reach out to their county’s agency using the numbers below:

  • Genesee County: 585-815-7905
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3219
  • Erie County: 716-858-6363
  • Monroe County: 585-753-6040
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2 plead guilty in county court today after being charged with assault
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2022 at 12:26 pm

ALBION – Two people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court today after being charged with assault.

Brian Bilby, 34, of Albion pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and second-degree attempted burglary. He accepted a plea deal to reduced charges. He could face up to 5 years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 26.

Bilby admitted in court today that he entered someone’s apartment on West Bank Street in Albion on May 19 and struck a man who was in a bed with either a broomstick or a rod from a  shower.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Bilby forced the door open in the apartment. Bilby lived in another apartment in the same building.

Cardone said it was an “unprovoked attack” that left the victim in severe pain from his injuries.

Bilby is currently in the county jail on $10,000 cash bail or $25,000 bond.

In another case, Deante Johnson, 19, of Medina pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault.

He was originally charged with first-degree assault, but that charge was reduced to second-degree assault because the victim did not sustain life-threatening injuries as initially feared.

Johnson stabbed a man who was in a verbal altercation with Johnson’s mother. The man was wounded in his lower abdomen and was bleeding.

Johnson told County Court Judge Sanford Church that the man who was stabbed put his hands on Johnson, and Johnson felt his life was in danger.

Cardone, the DA, said the other man put his hands on Johnson after Johnson threatened him.

“He wasn’t justified in using a knife,” Cardone said in court today.

As part of the plea agreement, Johnson could face a split sentence with a maximum of six months in the county jail and five years on probation.

Church told Johnson if he commits a crime while on probation he could then face time in state prison.

Johnson will be sentenced on Oct. 26.

He is currently in the county jail on $10,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

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Schumer says Inflation Reduction Act offers many benefits to New Yorkers
Posted 17 August 2022 at 9:28 am

Lower-cost prescription drugs, reduced energy costs will help the state, senator says

Press Release, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer

Charles Schumer

With the historic Inflation Reduction Act now signed into law, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer outlined the historic bill that will deliver the largest investment in fighting the climate crisis, while lowering prescription drug costs and utility bills, and fighting inflation, amongst so much more.

Schumer broke down how this historic deal will touch every corner of New York, helping to lower costs for families who need it most, creating thousands of new clean energy jobs, including by bringing manufacturing back to America, all while reducing the deficit by $300 billion.

Schumer said this bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity with New York primed to reap the rewards with thousands of new, good paying manufacturing and clean energy jobs powering the future of American energy independence, other investments in fighting the climate crisis, and lower healthcare costs for over 3.7 million seniors in New York on Medicare.

“The Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative feats of the twenty-first century: our bill lowers costs, creates millions of good-paying jobs, and is the boldest climate package in US history—and New York State and New Yorkers are primed to reap the harvest of these investments and costs savings,” Schumer said.

Specifically, Schumer highlighted that the bill includes:

Lowering The Cost Of Healthcare

These provisions include:

  • Empowering Medicare to begin negotiating directly for the price of prescription drugs, directly lowering what people pay for those drugs, including for conditions like cancer, COPD, asthma, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and rheumatoid arthritis. Schumer explained that currently, our drug pricing system heavily favors corporations, by allowing drug companies and middlemen to put profit over patients. The new negotiation policy that just passed within this bill will ensure that the over 3.7 million New Yorkers on Medicare get the best deal possible on high-priced drugs and pay cost-sharing for those drugs based on the Medicare negotiated price.
  • Cap Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 per year, protecting nearly 75,000 New Yorkers every single year from exorbitant drug costs if they get a major diagnosis, like cancer, for the drugs they need to live.
  • Ensures that Medicare patients pay no more than $35 per month for insulin. One in every three Medicare beneficiaries has diabetes, and over 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries use one or more of the common forms of insulin
  • Requires drug companies to rebate back to Medicare any price increases greater than inflation. Schumer said that the pharmaceutical industry should not be able to arbitrarily increase prices on lifesaving drugs that’s costs are not changing year-to-year. Now drug companies will be required to rebate back the difference to Medicare if they raise prices higher than inflation
  • Expands premium and co-pay assistance on prescription drugs for low-income individuals. Currently, the low-income subsidy program (LIS) under Medicare Part D is fully available to all seniors earning less than 135% of the federal poverty level, and partially available to seniors earning less than 150% of the federal policy level. The bill eliminates the partial subsidy status, giving those seniors the full low-income subsidy under Medicare Part D.
  • Puts more financial responsibility on insurance and drug companies to keep prices down. Patients are paying exorbitantly high prices while insurers and manufacturers rake in huge profits and negotiate secret discounts and agreements. Experts agree that the current Medicare Part D framework lets both insurers and drug companies off the hook for high drug prices – in fact, the system incentivizes higher drug prices by allowing insurers to pay less when drug prices go up. The bill changes that dynamic by incentivizing both manufacturers and insurers to keep drug prices down – it puts them on the hook for higher drug prices and spending to tamp down artificially high prices jointly set by big pharma and pharmacy benefit managers.
  • Free vaccines for seniors. Seniors are the only population for which vaccines were not already free and this bill finally corrects this by making all vaccines free in Medicare.
  • Stabilizes Part D premiums for seniors in Medicare by holding annual premium growth to existing levels so that insurers and manufacturers can’t pass their new financial responsibilities on to seniors.
  • Extends higher premium assistance for tens of thousands of lower and middle class NY families.

Investing In Clean Energy, Transportation, Buildings, and Manufacturing Jobs To Fight The Climate Crisis

These provisions include:

  • Over $160 billion in estimated value for new and expanded clean electricity tax credits will incentivize the transition to a cleaner power supply, driven by wind, solar, and batteries, deploying gigawatts of clean power across New York. This is further bolstered by about $25 billion in loans, grants, and other forms of financial assistance to build a cleaner grid and power sector across the country.
  • An estimated $43 billion in production tax credits to accelerate U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, clean hydrogen, and critical minerals processing. Plus, $10 billion in investment tax credits to build clean technology manufacturing facilities, like facilities that make electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. Green hydrogen companies in the North Country; and Plug Power in the Finger Lakes, Western New York’s STAMP, and the Capital Region, and much more.
  • Billions in loans and grants to build new clean vehicle manufacturing facilities and retool existing auto manufacturing facilities to manufacture clean vehicles across the country, including possibly in places like Western New York.
  • More than $8 billion for clean fuel production, from biofuels to sustainable aviation fuel.
  • Over $40 billion in tax credits to clean up America’s buildings – from commercial high-rises to residential homes and multifamily houses. This is driven even further with more than $10 billion in grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance to build cleaner buildings and cleanup the buildings we already have.
  • $2 billion for National Labs to accelerate breakthrough energy research. This funding will directly help New York entities like the Brookhaven National Lab to continue its groundbreaking research for the Department of Energy, and will keep major projects like the construction of the multi-billion dollar Electron Ion Collider on schedule, maintaining hundreds of jobs on Long Island.

Saving New Yorker’s Money On Energy Costs, Like Appliances, Electricity, RX costs & More

These provisions include:

  • Two new clean vehicle tax credits – one for new vehicles and one for used – will bring down the upfront cost of clean vehicles, allowing more New Yorkers to save money by avoiding the pump all together, and a more targeted clean vehicle infrastructure tax credit will deploy charging and refueling stations in rural and low income communities and at home. Together, these are estimated to provide about $10 billion in benefit to Americans.
  • A revamped energy efficiency tax credit will help cover the upfront cost of energy efficiency and electrification upgrades around the house, saving New Yorkers money month-after-month and year-after-year, and estimated to provide more than $12 billion in benefits.
  • An expanded tax credit will bring down the cost of putting solar on your roof and a battery backup system in your house, making New Yorkers more energy independent, all while lowering our monthly bills. This is estimated to provide more than $22 billion in value.
  • $9 billion in new federal funding for state-run home efficiency programs, with an emphasis on helping low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, will ensure those most sensitive to changing energy prices are better protected.
  • A new $1 billion funding stream focused on bolstering resilience, and energy and water efficiency for affordable housing across New York helps those who need it most.
  • $27 billion in landmark funding for Green Banks across the country, including the NY Green Bank, will deploy massive amounts of clean building technologies, distributed clean electricity, and clean vehicle infrastructure across the state, with an emphasis on disadvantaged communities.

Cleaning Up New York & Protecting The Environment

These provisions include:

  • Two new environmental justice block grants that will provide funding to reconnect communities, including $3 billion for Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants and $3 billion for Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants, to help address the disproportionate environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change.
  • $1.5 billion investment nationwide to plant trees, establish community and urban forests, and expand green spaces in cities, which combats climate change and provides significant community benefits by increasing recreation opportunities, cooling cities, lowering electric bills, and reducing heat-related death and illness.
  • $1 billion for clean buses, garbage trucks, and transit buses that can be deployed across the state, with an emphasis on deploying these vehicles in disadvantaged communities. This will also help boost New York manufacturers like Plattsburgh’s Nova Bus that makes clean electric buses.
  • Reinstating the Superfund tax, so that Superfund sites across New York have a guaranteed source of funding, paid for by the companies responsible for the pollution, that raises an estimated $11 billion over the next 10 years.
  • $3 billion for grants to reduce pollution at ports, like the Port of New York and New Jersey, to combat poor air quality in nearby communities, as well as targeted funding for the vehicles moving goods to and from New York’s ports.
  • $2.6 billion to conserve, restore, and protect marine and coastal habitats, including funding for marine mammals and fisheries stock assessments.

Affordable Care Act

  • Extends higher premium assistance for tens of thousands of lower and middle class NY families

Making Billion Dollar Corporations Pay Their Fair Share

These provisions include:

  • A 15% corporate minimum tax ensuring that the 200 or so large companies who strategically game the tax system to pay little or no federal corporate income taxes will be required to pay their fair share.
  • A 1% tax on stock buybacks, to incentivize companies to invest in their workforce and development, rather than prioritizing shareholder stock value. This provision imposes a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks over $1 million, targeting wealthy corporations who put Wall Street above Main Street.
  • Funding the Internal Revenue Service to go after tax cheats, which the IRS hasn’t had the resources to tackle for years. Now, the IRS will be able to ensure that wealthy tax dodgers won’t be able to rip off the American people any longer. The law includes a stipulation ensuring that additional tax enforcement should not be targeted at individuals earning $400,000 or less.
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Clarification: More details on health clinic in Holley that starts Aug. 24
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 17 August 2022 at 8:45 am

HOLLEY – A story which appeared on the Orleans Hub last week regarding the new health clinic in Holley may have been confusing, and Community Action’s director Renee Hungerford would like to clarify several facts.

First, Dr. Nancy Ciavarri was only there the day they announced the new clinic to show support for case manager and health coach Jeanette Worsley and help her get the clinic set up. Ciavarri is also a member of Community Action’s board. She will not be involved in the health clinic in any other way.

The mobile health unit from Oak Orchard Health will be at the Holley Community Center by appointment, with the first one scheduled for Aug. 24. Future dates will be posted in the Community Center. A health care provider will be on the mobile health unit.

There will be a fee for health visits, based on income. For those who have no health care insurance, someone will be on site to help clients sign up for Medicaid or health insurance.

Oak Orchard Health, Orleans Community Health and GCASA are all cooperating to run this new health program. GCASA will have a peer counselor available.

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Health clinic in Albion has new administrator as site nears 10th anniversary
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 17 August 2022 at 8:37 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Alana Palone, right, chats with staff of Orleans Community Health’s walk-in clinic in Albion. From left are Jorgie Lang, clinical technician; Ciarra Silversmith, clinical supervisor; and Techelle Stephens, clinical technician.

ALBION – Orleans Community Health’s walk-in clinic on Butts Road has a new administrator, effective Aug. 6.

Medina native Alana Palone took over the duties after Nicole Helsdon left to accept another position.

Palone, the former Alana Schuner, graduated in 2000 from Medina High School and studied two years at Niagara Community College. She then attended Brockport State College, where she received a degree in health care administration with a minor in business.

She previously worked for Dr. Eileen Kosieracki on Long Bridge Road and Dr. John Thompson in the former Arnold Gregory Hospital building. She also worked for nearly 10 years for Rochester Regional Health, all at urban practices.

She and her husband reside in Brockport, and accepting the job in Albion gives them a perfect reason to move back home, she said. She is also looking forward to the opportunity to serve her local community. As clinic administrator, Palone said she hopes to implement process changes and encourage more people to utilize the services offered there.

The walk-in clinic offers health care by two nurse practitioners, Liz Gurnsey and Blessing Ibezin, with Dr. Syed Raza available part-time. Services offered include lab work, X-ray, occupational and physical therapy, walk-in care services and primary care.

Other staff includes clinical supervisor, Ciarra Silversmith and clinical technicians Jorgie Lang and Techelle Stephens.

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Scott Robinson, director of Marketing, Communications and Outreach at Community Partners, said the Albion clinic will celebrate its 10th anniversary in November with several special events.

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Main Street bridge will close Oct. 17 in Albion until spring 2024
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2022 at 9:28 pm

DOT also working on Brockport’s lift bridge as part of $28.3 million rehab for 2 bridges

Photo by Tom Rivers: Traffic moves along Main Street in Albion this evening. The Main Street lift bridge will close for about 18 months as part of a major rehabilitation of the bridge from 1914.

ALBION – The Main Street lift bridge will close to traffic on Oct. 17 and not reopen for about 18 months until the spring of 2024, the state Department of Transportation said this evening during a community meeting at Hoag Library.

The bridge from 1914 will get an extensive rehabilitation. It is part of a $28.3 million project that includes the Main Street lift bridge in Brockport. The bridge in Brockport is expected to close in April 2023 and reopen in the spring 2024.

Crane-Hogan Structural Systems in Spencerport ins the general contractor on the two bridges. Crane-Hogan did the rehab work on seven canal bridges in Orleans County from 2018 to 2021. That was a $10.8 million project for the work on the single-lane truss bridges.

DOT officials said a planned closure for the two lift bridges is better than shutting down a bridge on an emergency.

“This is a planned event versus an emergency,” said DOT official said at this evening’s meeting. “We know what’s coming and everybody can plan for it.”

Michael Bonafede, owner of the Pratt and Day buildings in the downtown, speaks about the bridge project with engineer Jonathan Long.

The project includes replace the bridge deck and portions of the truss system with high-strength, galvanized steel. The lifting system’s mechanical and electrical components will be replaced and the lift towers rehabilitated. Crane-Hogan will also replace the bridge rails and repaint the bridge in the current shade of green.

“The work will modernize and fortify the internal workings of the bridge without comprising the external character that makes this bridge an iconic part of the Albion community,” the DOT in a brochure about the project.

Michael Bonafede, a downtown business and building owner, said the bridge closure for such an extended time will be a hardship on the community, especially the downtown merchants.

“It’s a huge project,” Bonafede said. “It’s going to be disruptive but the outcome is going to be worth it. It’s nice that they are saving the bridge. The Erie Canal is a tourist attraction.”

Bonafede shared concerns with DOT staff that some of the building owners will have lifts in the downtown for façade and window work as part of a Main Street initiative that was partially funded by the state.

Bonafede asked the DOT to not block off areas where some of that work will be done, including Morrison Realty which is close to the canal.

“In the end this is good for our community,” Bonafede said about a revamped bridge. “With a project this big you’re going to be inconvenienced. But for the long run, they’re going to make it better.”

Hoag Library hosted a meeting for the community to discuss the project with officials from the state Department of Transportation and Canal Corp.

Joyce Riley, the Albion deputy mayor, urged the community to make an extra effort to support the downtown merchants when the bridge is closed. She also said the closure could be a chance to hold events in the downtown that normally wouldn’t be possible because it is difficult to have the street blocked off.

She welcomes ideas from businesses and other community members for events in the downtown area while the bridge is closed.

“It’s going to affect the traffic pattern when everyone is skirting around the downtown,” Riley said.

She said the Main Street closure is the latest blow to the traffic flow in Albion, following the long-term closure of the Brown Street canal bridge about a decade ago and then the dismantling of the Clarendon Street bridge in the spring 2015.

“It’s getting harder and harder to get around in the community,” she said.

With the Main Street lift bridge closure, the DOT’s posted detour will be to utilize routes 31, 387 (Fancher Road), and 104 (Ridge Road). Most vehicles are expected to use the Ingersoll Street lift bridge in the village.

State DOT and Canal Corp. officials discuss the bridge project with community members at Hoag Library.

Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman attended the session in Albion. Brockport has been preparing for the closure of its Main Street lift bridge for the past year.

The village has a Bridging the Closure Committee with subcommittees on marketing, active transportation, vehicular traffic and events.

The groups are working on events on main Street while the bridge is closed. Blackman said that could include having the farmers’ market right on the street and allowing restaurants to do outdoor service.

Brockport like Albion has a second lift bridge close by with the one on Park Avenue. Blackman said the village will have signs and notices to help route motorists around the community.

Brockport will also be encouraging biking and other “active transportation” during the closure. Some in the village think the closure could be an opportunity for the downtown merchants.

“We’re talking about how to market the closure and make it a positive,” Blackman said. “We want to get people interested in these bridges and how they work.”

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Sponsored Post
By Orleans Hub Posted 16 August 2022 at 5:00 pm







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Jacobs introduces bill to prevent Medicaid tax shift from NY to county governments
Posted 16 August 2022 at 3:22 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

ORCHARD PARK – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the Property Tax Reduction Act of 2022. The legislation would prohibit state governments from shifting their Medicaid burden onto local county governments.

“New York State is the only state to impose this Medicaid burden onto their local county governments, forcing property taxes higher and putting unnecessary financial strain on residents across the state,” Jacobs said. “County governments in New York must devote massive amounts of their property tax revenue to this Medicaid obligation – it costs Erie County over 70 percent of its local property tax revenue annually. This legislation corrects this inequity, demands much-needed state fiscal responsibility, and provides tax relief to families and homeowners.”

The Property Tax Reduction Act would require New York State to absorb the full costs of its Medicaid spending by reducing the state’s Federal Financial Participation (FFP) commensurate with the counties’ share of spending. This reduction is phased in over four years starting in 2025. In 2020, New York counties outside of New York City collectively are forced to contribute $2.3 billion towards the state’s share of Medicaid.

Rep. Jacobs was joined by Representatives Zeldin (NY-01), Stefanik (NY-21), and Tenney (NY-22) in introducing the legislation.

“The cost of living has risen exponentially for New Yorkers,” Rep. Tenney said. “From sky high property taxes to today’s 41-year-high inflation, people across our state just cannot catch a break. I’m honored to join the Property Tax Reduction Act once again to ensure counties across New York are not burdened with the State’s high costs of Medicaid spending. This will lower property taxes and force the State to live within its means and finally make important decisions about how to allocate and reduce spending. Enough unfunded mandates and costly burdens have been passed down to our local governments, it’s time we set New York on a path toward fiscal responsibility.”

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Reelin’ for a Cure, a women-only fishing derby, raising money for Ovarian Cancer Project
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 August 2022 at 2:01 pm

Provided photo: Robin Boyle of Waterport holds two of the fish she caught in last year’s Reelin’ for the Cure derby. She is shown with captain Mitch Polkinkowski of Hemlock. He keeps his fishing boat at Point Breeze.

OLCOTT – Reelin’ for a Cure is a group of ladies and captains who gather annually in August to fish for top prize money in an All-Ladies Fishing tournament to raise money for women fighting cancer.

Each year the RFAC committee selects a different benefactor to receive proceeds of the derby. This year’s event will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Project.

This year’s Reelin’ for a Cure takes place on Friday, with fishing from 6 a.m. to noon. The goal of the ladies’ teams is to catch the biggest trout or salmon and/or most up to six during the six-hour time frame. They are always looking for more captains and lady angler teams to participate each year, bringing more attention to the awesome sportfishing on Lake Ontario as well as coming together for one day to help in the fight of women’s cancers, said organizer of the derby, Stephanie Pierleoni of Newfane.

All boats leave from Olcott or Wilson harbors.

An after party for participants, their families and volunteers takes place after the weigh-in at 1 p.m. in Krull Park.

Pierleoni started the women’s fishing derby in 2016, after hearing about a similar one in Oswego.

“They donated the proceeds to support causes dealing with women’s cancer,” Pierleoni said. “I thought why can’t we do something like that on this end of the lake.”

She has always loved to fish and often fishes with her husband Vince, who has been a fishing boat captain since 2009. Her first Fishin’ for a Cure was huge success, and she has done it every year since. Ten boats participated the first year and 45 are registered this year.

Three captains are participating from Point Breeze – Tom Boddy, Mitch Polkinkowski and Rick Hajecki. Several others are entering from Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall.

Robin Boyle of Waterport participated in the derby last year in support of her sister Sherri Boyle of Morristown, Tenn., who was battling a metastatic breast cancer. Sadly, Sherri died July 16, prompting Robin to enter the derby this year to support the event in memory of her sister. Robin is a member of the team on Polkinkowski’s boat.

Some of the charities Pierleoni has donated to in the past include the Wig Room, Look Good Feel Better and the Breast Cancer Network of Western New York. Individuals may donate by logging on the Reelin’ for a Cure website and clicking on “Donate money.”

Women each pay a fee of $250 to enter the derby.

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Murray will delay town-wide property re-val until at least 2024
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2022 at 1:02 pm

MURRAY – The Town of Murray didn’t follow its usual schedule of a town-wide property assessment revaluation for 2022. The town, and others in Orleans County, usual do the re-val every three years.

But with a real estate, with many properties selling way above assessed values, Murray officials opted to wait on a re-val this year.

The Town Board decided it’s going to continue to wait – until at least 2024 for the next town-wide re-val.

“It is a chaotic time in the real estate market,” Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said on Monday evening after the Town Board meeting. “We felt it might be a false market that might correct itself.”

Of the 10 towns in Orleans County, only Clarendon and Barre did re-vals in 2022. The other towns opted to wait until 2023 to see if the market prices hold.

Murray officials announced on Monday they won’t do the re-val in 2023, either. Sidonio said the high inflation and the rising interest rates should impact the market. The Town Board now will look to do the re-val in 2024.

There has been a real estate boom in Orleans County, with median sale prices up 16.7 percent in 2021 from the previous year and 25.8 percent in two years. The median sale price in Orleans County went up 68.5 percent over four years – jumping from $81,000 in 2017 to $136,500 in 2021, according to data from the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors.

“We hope it will slow down some,” Town Assessor Stephanie Holts said about the real estate market. “It’s so hard to predict with what’s going on in the world right now.”

Murray has 2,121 parcels, including in the Village of Holley. The town assessor’s office is planning to send a data mailer by the end of the year that shows each parcel owner all the information for that parcel. Owners will be asked to verify that information and note any additions.

Even though the town hasn’t done a re-val, that doesn’t mean property owners tax bills are staying the same. The state has put Murray’s equalization rate at 78 percent, meaning the assessed values of properties town-wide are at 78 percent of their market value.

With the upcoming school tax bills coming out in September, the equalization rate will be applied to the tax bills so they reflect a 100 percent market value.

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Orleans, GLOW region continue to be in drought watch
Posted 16 August 2022 at 11:54 am

State expands counties in watch, the first of 4 levels of drought advisory

MAP from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation: Many counties and regions of New York State are in a drought watch, the first level of a drought advisory. With a drought watch there are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place, but residents are strongly encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. Local public water suppliers may require conservation measures, depending upon local needs and conditions.

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office 

Governor Kathy Hochul today directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue an updated drought watch after consulting with the State Drought Management Task Force and federal partner agencies.

The watch now includes most New York counties except those located in the Adirondack, Eastern Great Lakes, and New York Metropolitan regions. New York State is encouraging residents in affected counties, particularly those dependent on private groundwater wells, to conserve water whenever possible during the coming weeks.

“While recent rains have helped, severe dry conditions continue to persist across the state,” Governor Hochul said. “New Yorkers should take steps to conserve water whenever possible in the areas now under a designated drought watch. Simple steps to reduce water consumption will be crucial to our efforts to help prevent any increased drought levels.”

Orleans County and the GLOW region are among the areas are a drought watch. A watch is the first of four levels of State drought advisories, which are watch, warning, emergency, and disaster. No mandatory restrictions are in place under a state drought watch.

“This year’s below normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures continue to combine to exacerbate low stream flows, reduced groundwater levels, and ongoing wildfire risk,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The DEC will continue to monitor water levels and the environmental impacts of the dry conditions and encourage residents throughout the state to monitor usage and avoid wasting water.”

Photo by Tom Rivers: A rare sighting of a pay phone at Hamlin Beach State Park on Sunday shows grass showing the effects of too little rain this summer.

An increasing number of water supply challenges are being reported due to dry conditions. Below-normal precipitation during the last three months, low stream flows and low groundwater levels prompt the need for the expansion of the watch status to ensure adequate public water supplies. Local public water suppliers are urged to assess the current situation, promote voluntary conservation, and take appropriate actions to manage risk.

DEC and U.S. Geological Survey are partners in evaluating hydrologic conditions across New York State. In addition, DEC supports efforts by local governments and stakeholders to undertake water conservation measures based on specific local circumstances.

Observed precipitation has been less than normal with shortfalls of two to six inches common over the last 90 days. The dry weather began in the spring and is beginning to significantly affect other metrics. Stream flows and groundwater levels are well below normal throughout much of the affected regions. Groundwater levels have been declining over the past few months and they are not expected to improve in the immediate future due to the existing precipitation deficit.

The National Weather Service outlook for the remainder of the summer predicts above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. By voluntarily reducing water usage, and being extra careful with fire and outdoor flames, New Yorkers can help conserve our natural resources during these dry days of summer.

To protect water resources, homeowners are encouraged to voluntarily reduce outdoor water use and follow these tips:

  • Water lawns only when necessary, choose watering methods that avoid waste, and water in the early morning to reduce evaporation and maximize soil hydration;
  • Reuse water collected in rain barrels, dehumidifiers, or air conditioners to water plants;
  • Raise lawn mower cutting heights. Longer grass is healthier with stronger roots and needs less water;
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks; and
  • Fix leaking pipes, hoses, and faucets.
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Meeting today in Albion will detail Main Street lift bridge construction project

Photo by Tom Rivers: The DOT will present information today about an upcoming project at the Main Street lift ridge in Albion. The bridge is expected to be closed about 18 months.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2022 at 10:24 am

ALBION – There will be a meeting today at Hoag Library from 6 to 8 p.m. which will detail an upcoming $15 million rehabilitation of the Main Street lift bridge.

The state Department of Transportation will have displays and other information about the project, with staff present to take questions from the community. The bridge on Route 98 is expected to be closed for about 18 months.

The bridge was originally built in 1914. It typically closes a few days each year for short-term repairs. It is one of 16 lift bridges on the Erie Canal, and one of seven in Orleans County.

The DOT previously said the work includes installing high-strength galvanized steel to replace the steel floor system and select truss members. Updates will also be made to the mechanical and electrical components of the lifting mechanisms. The lift tower will also be rehabilitated.

In addition, the bridge railing and guide rail on the bridge approaches will be improved and bridge will be repainted.

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Supportive Care of Orleans welcomes back marketing and development specialist
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 August 2022 at 10:07 am

ALBION – Hospice of Orleans/dba Supportive Care of Orleans has announced the return of Derek Reiner of Albion as new human resource/marketing/development specialist. Reiner previously worked at Hospice as director of development and public relations from 2019 to 2021.

Derek Reiner

“We are excited to welcome Derek home,” said Julie Kumiega, Supportive Care of Orleans CEO.  “He has hit the ground running with our Toast to Hospice event Aug. 27 and is already talking about plans for a 10-year anniversary event to celebrate our Martin-Linsin Residence.”

A 2005 graduate of Attica Senior High School, Reiner has two college degrees, one from Trocaire College, where he studied sports and medical massage therapy and applied science, and the other from Brockport State College, where he studied exercise science and kinesiology, before pursuing his doctorate in chiropractic.

“I am honored to serve the Orleans County community once again,” Reiner said. “I am very committed to enhancing our community’s knowledge on the hospice services we provide and helping to bridge the gap of care for the terminally ill residents of Orleans County.”

Reiner has worked simultaneously in both the healthcare and technology space for the last decade. He has held positions with tech companies and chiropractic wellness centers, as well as running his own private practice.

He worked and interned for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, providing oncology massage as well as end-of-life care, which has grown to be a big part of his life. He has also worked for a global technology distributor providing market development services to thousands of information technology vendors and clients from all over the country.

He also is a seasoned marketing and business development professional with an adaptive disposition in the technology and healthcare industry.

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