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Group is working on biggest National Night Out so far for Aug. 7
Posted 21 June 2018 at 5:34 pm

Provided photo: The committee working on the National Night Out met this morning at Bullard Park to discuss the Aug. 7 event in Albion.

Press Release, Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni

ALBION – The Albion Police Department and Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition are Co-Organizers of the Orleans County National Night Out and are proud to give an update on this year’s event that will take place on August 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Bullard Park on East Avenue in the Village of Albion.

This is the fourth year of our event and it is going to be largest so far.

National Night Out started in the 1980s as a way to bring law enforcement and citizens together on the same night each year. We have expanded on that principle and put together an event that focuses on bringing many agencies and organizations together on the annual National Night Out date each year. Participants in the event will include law enforcement, fire agencies, EMS responders, civic organizations and other groups that will be providing activities, demonstrations and giveaways.

Our mission is simple. We want an event where families can come for a night and be entertained at no cost and eat for free in an environment that is free of violence, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Our goal is to have those that attend walk away with a positive contact that can assist with any needs a person may need. We strive to make this a one-day event where the impact lasts all year long.

This year we have been very fortunate to have had many organizations not only willing to participate in the event but we have received donations and support from many local organizations and businesses. This year’s event features free hot dogs and water, Child Seat Inspections with free replacements, Bike Rodeo with bikes on hand, helmet giveaways, and much more.

We are very excited to doing a “Battle of Belts” competition again this year to promote vehicle passenger safety. The competition entails teams of 4 who compete to see who is the fastest getting into car and fastening their seatbelts. Each contestant then must switch seats and again fasten their seat belts. The time ends when each person has sat in each seat in the car. This event is fun to participate in and even more fun to watch. There is still time to enter and details can be found on the Facebook Page by clicking here.

We are always looking for organizations that wish to be a part of the event or those who wish to donate. Any group that wants to be a part of this great community event is asked to contact us for more details.

For more information contact Chief Nenni at the Albion Police Department 585-589-5627 or nenni@albionpolice.com or Pat Crowley at 585-331-8732 or pcrowley@gcasa.org.

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Collins votes in favor of 2018 Farm Bill
Posted 21 June 2018 at 5:11 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Collins

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted for the 2018 Farm Bill that he said will strengthen and grow the Western New York dairy economy. In recent years, the dairy industry has faced significant challenges, including an overall decline in milk consumption due to unfair trade practices with nations like Canada. Provisions in the Farm Bill make commonsense reforms to safety net programs put in place to help farmers during a downturn.

Collins has been a staunch advocate for expanding the current H-2A visa program that has not met the need of dairy farmers to find a legal, experienced workforce. Provisions to address issues with visas were not included, although Collins was assured by House Leadership that a separate bill to solve these problems will be considered in July.

“Our nation’s dairy farmers are struggling and we have to do everything we can to keep this industry alive in Western New York,” said Collins. “I’ve met with local farmers who have told me on numerous occasions that the Margin Protection Program was simply not working and was based on flawed logic. The reforms passed in today’s bill are going to help these farmers better utilize this program as we continue to make reforms that will boost this industry.”

This legislation would provide greater coverage to dairy farmers through the Margin Protection Program (MPP) and will allow a farmer to participate in both the livestock and dairy protection programs. Additionally, the program will be relabeled the Dairy Risk Management Program (DRMP).

The newly created DRMP eliminates the current 25% minimum coverage level and allows producers to elect levels in 5% increments. It will also add higher coverage levels of $8.50 and $9.00 per CWT, a provision Collins advocated for in a 2017 letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11).

The legislation will also require the United States Department of Agriculture to study the accuracy of milk and feed costs used to determine the margin. This was implemented in response to the large amount of farmers that were unable to utilize the program because of ineffective calculations.

“Since I have gotten elected to Congress, our region’s agriculture industry has been a main priority and I’m committed to continuing to do what is best for our farmers,” Collins said. “While we still have work to do to turn this industry around, I’m pleased with the reforms we passed today.”

For more information on H.R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, click here.

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51 farmworkers recognized for improving their English

Photos by Tom Rivers: The World Life Institute and Orleans/Niagara BOCES presented 51 certificates to students who improved their English through classes run at the WLI school on Stillwater Road or at Hoag Library in Albion.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2018 at 4:04 pm

3 students also earn American citizenship through program run by World Life Institute

The new Americans recognized on Wednesday at the World Life Institute include, from left: Marisol Soto, Martin Rosario and Luis Garza.

WATERPORT – The World Life Institute and the Orleans/Niagara BOCES celebrated another successful year on Wednesday, when 51 farmworkers were presented certificates for improving their English.

Three of those students also became U.S. citizens after preparing through the test with staff at the World Life Institute.

“This is not a graduation,” said Linda Redfield, one of the English teachers at the WLI. “It’s a recognition. We’re recognizing your improvement in stages. We want you to come back on Monday. This is a year-round program.”

Redfield praised the students for their work improving their English. Some of the students also learn computer skills, civics and pottery, with the latter program run in partnership with the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

The three new Americans all expressed their gratitude to the teachers at the World Life Institute.

Luis Garza, one of the new citizens, works as a supervisor at a local fruit farm. He spent two years getting ready for the citizenship test, working with Redfield and Cheryl Lieberman, who are both teachers in the program.

“These people help us a lot,” Garza said about the teachers.

He was driven to become an American citizen.

“It was important so I could stay here in this country and support my family,” Garza said.

Martin Rosario also is a new citizen. He said it was difficult to get ready for the citizenship test while he was working and raising a family. But like Garza, Rosario was determined to pass the exam.

“It is something for us we have to do to feel free in this country,” said Rosario of Albion.

Marisol Soto of Albion works at three local farms while raising three children. She thanked the teachers for supporting the students and helping them meet the standards in passing the test.

“This means a lot to us,” Soto said about becoming an American citizen. “It’s opening doors for us and giving us more opportunities.”

Susan Diemert, a BOCES literacy specialist, said the students in the programs would attend their classes often after a long day in the fields or at dairy farms.

“They’re doing it for their future and their children’s future,” Diemert said.

The World Life Institute works with students from Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, and the Philippines. There also students from Puerto Rico.

Linda Redfield gives Marisol Soto a hug at the recognition program. Redfield is one of the teachers helping farmworkers learn English. In 2013, she was honored as “Teacher of the Year” by the New York State Association of Adult Continuing Education Programs.

Clark Godshall, superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES, praises the students and staff for their hard work in the program.

These students are all smiles after being recognized for making gains in English.

Oscar Hernandez, who works for a dairy farm in Byron, accepts a certificate in recognition of his efforts to improve his English.

Ali Carter, a member of the World Life Institute, was the designer, architect and builder of the octagonal-shaped school, which opened about two decades ago on Stillwater Road in Carlton.

Ayme Vallejo Morales, 7, takes a whack at a piñata after the recognition program. Her mother was one of the students recognized on Wednesday.

The piñata was popular with the children.

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Counties pleased with court decision to allow online sales tax
Posted 21 June 2018 at 2:27 pm

‘Today’s decision creates a level playing field for our Main Street economies.’ – NYSAC President MaryEllen Odell

Press Release, NYS Association of Counties

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that states can charge out-of-state retailers sales tax, at least in some circumstances, even if they don’t have a store or warehouse in the state. This ruling opens the door to allow sales taxes collection on internet purchases.

Counties and New York State have seen stagnation or reductions in sales tax revenues due to a combination of factors, including the Great Recession that began in 2008 and a dramatic increase in online retail activity in which sales tax collection is not required. Brick and mortar retail stores in communities across the state have seen a reduction in retail activity, with some closing and laying off New Yorkers who work in their stores and live in our communities.

In order to deliver essential public services, counties rely on sales tax receipts to offset property taxes, while also providing a significant revenue source for cities, towns, school districts and villages through sales tax sharing arrangements. Today’s ruling has implications for our local governments and their ability to best serve our communities.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a common sense, practical, modern application of taxation to the new economy,” said Stephen Acquario, executive director of NYSAC.  “The Court held that requiring remote seller to collect and remit sales tax to the state where the purchase was made is not an undue burden on interstate commerce, and as such, states have the right to require the tax for on online, out of state, sales.”

According to the Supreme Court, “it is an inescapable fact of modern commercial life that a substantial amount of business is transacted with no need for physical presence within a state in which business is conducted.”

Acquario said nearly the entire property tax collected by counties is used for state-mandated services. The sales tax is a revenue that can used to fund critical life-saving local public safety programs, infrastructure, and other programs for seniors and veterans, he said.

“My position has always been that sales taxes should be a level playing field,” said NYSAC President MaryEllen Odell. “Today’s decision creates a level playing field for our Main Street economies. I know small local businesses have felt they can’t compete against global interests online as discounts and no taxation have been the rule. This decision will help our local businesses.”

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State Senate passes legislation for substance use disorders to get insurance parity
Posted 21 June 2018 at 11:39 am

Press Release, State Senator Rob Ortt

State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) and his colleagues on Wednesday passed Senate Bill 1156C, which would require insurance providers and health plans to file reports illustrating their compliance with state and federal mental health and substance abuse parity laws.

Currently, federal and state law require mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) to be insured on par with more traditional illnesses, however, recent court cases have demonstrated that these parity standards are not being met.

“This legislation would increase transparency in the medical insurance field and allow consumers to see that they are being treated fairly in regard to medical coverage,” said Sen. Rob Ortt. “Ensuring New Yorkers have equal access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment is critical, especially with the ever-increasing numbers of communities, families, and individuals impacted by the heroin and opioid epidemic across our state. I’m proud my Senate colleagues and I have led the way in making sure New Yorkers with mental health and substance use disorders are treated just as fairly as those with more traditional illnesses.”

The Senate on Tuesday also passed legislation, which revised Timothy’s Law and ensured those suffering from substance use disorders are included in the state’s mental health and parity laws. This legislation (S1156C) has also passed the Assembly.

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Robin Hill in Lyndonville hosts Summer Solstice Soiree

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Beth Gee Carpenter of Lyndonville, left, helps Jan Heideman of Medina choose postcards at Carpenter’s booth on the grounds of Robin Hill Estate during the Summer Solstice Soiree Wednesday afternoon, sponsored by the Cobblestone Society.

Posted 21 June 2018 at 9:00 am

Hundreds of rare plants and trees, such as these, line the paths through Robin Hill Estate in Lyndonville, where on Wednesday afternoon the Cobblestone Society Museum held a Summer Solstice Soiree.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – Picture peaceful grounds, hundreds of rare plants and trees, a sunlit afternoon and soft music coming from the shade and you have the setting for Wednesday’s Summer Solstice Soiree at Robin Hill Estate.

This is the second year for the event, sponsored by the Cobblestone Society, and the first time it was held at Robin Hill Nature Preserve, the 40-acre Lyndonville estate of the late Will Smith.

After a very successful event last year in the gardens of Leroy and Shirley Neeper of Medina, the Cobblestone Society decided to have this year’s garden party at Robin Hill, which proved to be a perfect location with its collection of trees, shrubs and flowers.

Half dozen or so vendors were scattered among the trees, including artists, crafters, photographers and others.

A table in the midst of it all was full of hors d’oeuvres and samplings of wine, while in the shade of nearby trees, Mike Grammatico of Batavia, a former Albion music teacher, played the saxophone.

Beth Gee Carpenter of Lyndonville had a booth with her photographs, artwork, postcards and note pads.

“I’m always looking for new venues to sell my work,” she said. “I come here to take pictures and it’s wonderful to be able to take part in an event like this in my local community.”

Robin Hill was developed by Will Smith, the founder of Lyndonville Canning Company. He and his wife Mary, son George and daughter Marion designed and built the manor house of Medina sandstone. They were enthusiastic bird watchers and mushroom hunters, and Marion banded Monarch butterflies for years.

Will and Mary were traveling in northern Pennsylvania one spring in the 1940s when they saw hillsides full of shad trees in blossom north of Williamsport. Will spotted one tree with pink flowers in the midst of the white ones, climbed the hill and took cuttings of the pink shad.

Mary Zangerle of Medina, with her 8-month-old granddaughter Marian, checks out the yard art at the Summer Solstice Soiree at the Robin Hill Estate.

The first of Robin Hill’s shads are planted to the north and south of the manor house. They thrive in urban environments and can be trimmed to bush size or allowed to grow tall. They are even farmed for their berries in Canada .

Over the years, Smith’s plantings would become famous, such as the Dawn Redwood, the prehistoric ancestor of the Giant Sequoia.

Three such redwoods at Robin Hill are offshoots of a stand of Dawn Redwoods, estimated to be 6,000 years old, which was discovered in Mongolia in early 1930. One of its discoverers was a friend of Smith’s and sent Will a cone with some seeds. Thanks to the fertile conditions of the Lake Plains, three of these redwoods thrive at Robin Hill, along with some contemporary sequoias.

The 80-foot tall Dawn Redwood next to the North Pond on the estate is thought to be the oldest in the Western Hemisphere .

Today, Robin Hill is the home of Doug and Valerie Pratt, son and granddaughter of Larry and Charlotte Smith Pratt.

Other trees and shrubs include linden, a Gingko tree, a Franklinia bush, sycamores, beech, witch hazel, Carolina silverbell, Japanese Umbrella pine, a multi-trunk European larch and Japanese maples.

The grounds are available for weddings, photography and other events – to anyone who loves and respects nature.

With this successful event over, the Cobblestone Society is moving forward with plans for its next fundraiser, the annual Historic Trades Fair on June 30.

Hibiscus bushes bloom on the grounds of Robin Hill Estate in Lyndonville, which was the site of the Cobblestone Society’s second annual Summer Solstice Soiree Wednesday afternoon.

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Auto body student scores a hole-in-one with designs
Posted 21 June 2018 at 8:06 am

Provided photo: Morgan Sullivan of Royalton-Hartland is pictured with the hoods she painted.

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Morgan Sullivan, a student enrolled in the Auto Body program at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, got a chance to show off her airbrushing skills.

I-CAR is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs. I-CAR approached her teacher, Tom Struebing, to see if any of this students would be willing to help them out by painting miniature car hoods for a golf fundraiser they do every year.

“It’s a pretty big deal because people come from all over the country and this year it will be held in Atlanta,” Struebing said. “The hoods were going to be prizes for the golf tournament.”

I-CAR sent four of the miniature hoods and Morgan was the first person Struebing thought of to help.

“She is very artsy and told me the main reason she took my course was to learn how to airbrush,” he said.

The criteria was that they should reflect golf, but something with the automotive industry because that is what we are.

“She got all four of them done and they look really good,” Struebing said with pride. “She used the names of the sponsors for the brand names of the golf balls. That worked out real well. She has placed pretty high in airbrushing competitions and I think this just validates her decision to come to the program.”

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Retired Teachers’ Association presents grant to Lyndonville teacher
Posted 21 June 2018 at 7:40 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Georgia Thomas of Medina, left, president of the Orleans County Retired Teachers Association, presented a grant to Aimee Chaffee of Lyndonville Middle School on Wednesday.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

LYNDONVILLE – A Lyndonville Middle School teacher has been rewarded for her dedication to education with a grant from the Central Western Zone of New York State Retired Teachers’ Association.

Aimee Chaffee is the Orleans County winner of a $150 grant from the Central Western Zone.

Orleans County Retired Teachers’ Association president Georgia Thomas of Medina announced Chaffee as the winner at Lyndonville Central School on Wednesday.

Chaffee is AVID coordinator at Lyndonville, Dean of Students, Leo Club Adviser and, in her words, an “AVID” teacher. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a college readiness program with academic rigor at Lyndonville.

The Barrie Fleegel Memorial Active Educator Grant is named for Fleegel, who began his teaching career as a science teacher in 1955. He moved up to high school principal in 1971 and two years later became superintendent of Marion Schools. Upon retirement, he became a member of the New York State Retired Teachers’ Association and served as president of the Wayne County branch, then president of the Central Western Zone and senior vice president of NYSRTA.

Fleegel recognized that educators who were continuing their education needed recognition and monetary help, and thus the grant was created by the Central Western Zone in his honor.

According to Ann Czajkowski, chair of the CWZ grant program, Chaffee will receive her check when proof is received that she has completed a graduate level course during 2018.

Next year, CWZ educators will be eligible to apply for the New York State Retired Teachers’ grant of $1,000. CWZ educators are eligible for grants every other year, Czajkowski said.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated from an earlier version that said the grant for Chaffee was for $1,000.)

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Historic canal tugboat could be grounded for static display
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2018 at 3:20 pm

Other vessels slated to sunk in Long Island reef

File photos by Tom Rivers: The tugboat Urger was in Orleans County in October 2015 as part of its educational outreach, when elementary school children visit the boat from 1901. This photo shows the Urger in Albion.

A historic tugboat that has traveled the canal in recent years as an ambassador is proposed to be grounded and become part of a static display in Montgomery County.

In addition, the New York Power Authority, the current caretaker of the canal, wants to remove 29 other vessels and sink them in Long Island to make an artificial reef that state officials say would be interesting for scuba divers.

The Preservation League of New York State is opposing the removal of the Urger and the sinking of the 29 other vessels. The State Historic Preservation Office has approved sinking seven of the vessels, according to the Preservation League.

“As we embark on a multi-year celebration of the construction of the Erie Canal, including the 2018 centennial celebration of the Barge Canal, it seems a remarkably poor time to be removing historic resources from the National Historic Landmark NYS canal system,” the Preservation League stated on Tuesday.

The vessels have been decommissioned and include canal tugs, derrick boats, scows and tender tugs, according to The Times Union in Albany.

The Canal Corp. and Power Authority want to send the Urger to a dry-land exhibit at a visitor center off the Thruway near Canajoharie. The plan would not keep the Urger as an operable tugboat.

The Urger travelled up and down the canal most years and was particularly popular with fourth-graders who learn about the state history and the canal.

The Urger was in Albion on Oct. 5, 2015 by the Main Street lift bridge.

The Urger was built in 1901 and originally was a Great Lakes tugboat and was a commercial shipping vessel in Michigan for its first two decades. It joined the canal system in 1922 and moved state dredges, Derek boats, barges and scows, primarily on the Champlain Canal and the eastern portion of the Erie Canal from 1922 through 1986, when she was retired from service.

In 1991, the Urger got new life as a “Teaching Tug.” It was visiting canal communities from early May until late October, educating children and adults about the canal system, which opened in 1825.

The Urger is 75 feet long and weighs 83.7 tons. The engine weighs 19.5 tons. It is a 1944 Atlas Imperial engine that was surplus from World War II. It replaced a steam engine.

John Bonafide, director of Technical Preservation Services Bureau for the State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, sent a June 12 letter to John Kahabka, vice president of Environment Health and Safety for the New York Power Authority

Bonafide noted the Urger in 2001 was listed on the state and national registers of historic places “as a resource of state-wide significance.” The Urger was nominated “for her long and historic association with the development of New York State’s twentieth century canals.”

Fourth-graders from School No. 2 in Rochester visit the Urger in Holley on Oct. 7, 2015.

The tugboat now serves as the canal’s ceremonial flagship, serving as a platform and focal point for educational programs, historic interpretation and celebrations in canal side communities throughout upstate NY, Bonafide said.

“This historic vessel is one of New York State’s preeminent and unique historic resources,” he wrote in his letter. “As such, the proposal to remove the historic vessel from its water setting and create a land-based static exhibit with her, albeit it close to the canal, will nevertheless have an unquestionable and profound direct adverse impact on the National Register listed tugboat.”

The tugboat is also connected to the Erie Canal, which is a National Historic Landmark. “The proposed removal and display may also adversely affect the significant resource as well,” he said.

State Parks wants to see a current structural or engineering conditions survey of Urger “to better understand the rationale for removing the historic resource form operational use on the canal,” Bonafide wrote to Kahabka.

State Parks also wants to see an annual maintenance budget showing expenses to maintain the Urger as an operating vessel along the canal, the estimated cost for creating a static exhibit and the budget for maintaining a static exhibit.

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New farmers’ market debuts on Thursday in Clarendon
Posted 20 June 2018 at 12:07 pm

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

CLARENDON – A new farmers’ market in Clarendon is a dream come true for Nyla Gaylord, a Clarendon native who also is a proponent of home-grown food.

In the spring, Gaylord suggested the idea of opening a farmers’ market in Clarendon and on Thursday afternoon, her idea will become a reality.

The Clarendon Farmers’ Market will debut on the grounds of the Clarendon Historical Society and will be open from 3:30 to 7 p.m. every Thursday until the end of October.

Six vendors have already signed up, and more are welcome.

“Locating the market at the Historical Society complements the friendly ‘old time country’ feeling the market seeks to promote,” Gaylord said.

She first became interested in starting a market last winter when she canvassed local farmers’ markets in search of a local venue to sell the eggs she raises on her family farm.

“I’ve always enjoyed raising chickens and envisioned I would spend my early retirement years working part time selling eggs and other farm products I could produce on my own property,” Gaylord said. “I was surprised to learn the smaller farmers’ markets in Orleans and adjoining counties were not accepting new vendors. While my research supported the idea there is a growing demand for locally produced food, it seemed there was no local venue for small producers to get the food to consumers. So, the best alternative seemed to be starting one in Clarendon.”

Melissa Ierlan, historian for the town of Clarendon and president of the Clarendon Historical Society, has always been a supporter of new ideas to promote the town and its history, Gaylord said.

“Melissa pointed out the antique farm equipment and facilities at the Historical Society would be an ideal backdrop for the old fashioned public market I envisioned,” Gaylord said. “We surveyed about 35 residents and got their input on what should be offered, where and when. It seems Thursday afternoons will not conflict with other public markets and community events. We hope to attract commuters who travel Route 31A, as well as local residents and groups of tourists.”

With the support of the Clarendon Historical Society and the town of Clarendon, Gaylord wrote two proposals for funding for advertising and staff for the market. And while they were not funded, Gaylord said she made some valuable contacts and learned a lot about starting and running a market.

“Clearly, it’s a lot of work, but I decided ‘if it is to be, it is up to me,’ and jumped in to do what is needed to make it happen,” Gaylord said. “This is my home town and we need something like this to help build community, stimulate the local economy and make fresh food easily available to our neighbors, many of whom are older and have limited transportation.”

In the future, the market will accept Food Stamps and the Senior Nutrition Farmers Market coupons.

Vendors will offer eggs, baked good s, vegetables, crafts and more.

Opening day at the Clarendon Market will also feature music by the bluegrass/gospel group, the Fox Den.

Interested vendors and musicians who would like to take part in the market are encouraged to contact Gaylord at (585) 703-0564 or e-mail Clarendonfarmersmarket@aol.com. There is no fee to set up a table, but donations to help with the cost of advertising are gratefully accepted.

Clarendon Historical Society is located on Route 31A, just east of the center of town.

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5 schools in Orleans get ready for graduation
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2018 at 11:43 am

File photo: As is tradition during their outdoor commencement, Holley graduates gather in the corner of Holley Hawks Stadium and throw their caps in the air surrounded by family and friends after the program. This photo is from the 2017 graduation. Holley’s commencement starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

About 400 seniors will graduate from the five public school districts in Orleans County on Friday and Saturday.

Four of the school districts – Albion, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina – start their graduation programs at 7 p.m. on Friday. Holley has its commencement on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Here is a rundown of each graduation program:

• In Albion, graduation is in the high school gymnasium with 133 students finishing high school. The scheduled speakers are Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent, and Margy Brown, president of the Board of Education, as well as Valedictorian Richard Daniels, Salutatorian Tyler Kast and Class President Victor Benjovsky.

Holley has 89 candidates for graduation on Saturday at the Holley Hawks Stadium (the football stadium).  There will be speeches by the Class President Matthew DeSimone, Valedictorian Dakota Thompson and the Salutatorian Nina DiLella.

The keynote address will be given by Nick D’Amuro, a Holley social studies teacher, football assistant coach, and track assistant coach.

In case of rain, the graduation will be moved to the Jr./Sr. High Auditorium.

Kendall has 49 students graduating at 7 p.m. on Friday at the David J. Doyle Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Auditorium.

The valedictory address will be given by Kierstyn Christensen, who is the daughter of the district superintendent, Julie Christensen. Allen Tonas will be the salutatory address.

Karl Driesel, a Kendall graduate and owner of a woodworking business in town, will give the keynote address.

Lyndonville has 50 students graduating on Friday at the Stroyan Auditorium. Jason Smith, the district superintendent, and Aaaron Slack, the high school principal, will be speakers. Paige Gardner will give the valedictory address and Mercedes Benedict will give the salutatorian speech.

Medina has 120 students graduating on Friday in the High School Auditorium. Speakers include Michael Cavanaugh, the high school principal, and Valedictorian Madison Kenward and Salutatorian Jack Hill.

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Canada Flivver Drivers tour Orleans, WNY
Posted 20 June 2018 at 11:09 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf

ALBION – Joe Baker of Albion and his neighbor Andre Hoffman stand next to the 1920 Model T touring car Baker and his wife Mae own. They visited the home of Dave Armitage and Dona LaValley on Sunday with the Canada Flivver Drivers, who are staying at Baker’s while touring Western New York .

The Canada Flivver Drivers, members of the Model T Club of America, are staying at the home of Joe and Mae Baker of Albion, while touring Western New York. On Sunday they visited car collector Dave Armitage of Batavia, where three of the cars are displayed here. From left are a 1928 Whippet, 1926 Dodge Roadster and the Baker’s 1920 Model T touring car.

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Cuomo plans to file lawsuit against Trump Administration for violating rights of children and families
Posted 20 June 2018 at 10:06 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday that New York State intends to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump Administration on the grounds that the federal government is violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents who have been separated at the border.

Cuomo said the state knows of more than 70 children who are staying in federal shelters in New York State and that number is expected to increase as other facilities are contacted. The Governor is directing the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services to commence legal action against the federal government’s “Separation of Families” policy. Following the callous and inhumane treatment of immigrant families at the border, New York is suing to protect the health and well-being of children being held at least 10 different facilities across the state and at others throughout the nation.

“The Trump Administration’s policy to tear apart families is a moral failing and a human tragedy,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will not tolerate the Constitutional rights of children and their parents being violated by our federal government. New York will act and file suit to end this callous and deliberate attack on immigrant communities, and end this heartless policy once and for all.”

The Governor announced that New York plans to sue the federal government for:

• Violating the Constitutional Rights of Children and Families

Parents are being separated from their children at the border as a result of the Trump Administration’s new “zero tolerance” prosecution of the minor federal offense of improper entry into the country. In prior administrations, families who appeared with children at the border would be processed together and released with a date to appear in court. Now, parents, many of whom are seeking to protect their children and families from gang violence, are being systematically detained, separated from their children, and, in some cases, deported with no meaningful opportunity to participate in making decisions concerning the care and custody of their children. Yet these parents are still afforded rights under the United States Constitution to familial integrity and to decide to exercise their parental rights in New York State.

• Violation of the Terms of the Flores Settlement

The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement set national standards regarding the detention, release, and treatment of all children in immigration detention and prioritizes the principle of family unity. It requires that juvenile immigrant detainees be released from custody without unnecessary delay, or when no appropriate placement is available, be held in the least restrictive setting appropriate to age and special needs. The Flores Settlement explicitly requires family reunification with a clear preference for custody by a parent, which supports New York’s call for ending the “zero tolerance” policy.

• Callous Policies Based on the Outrageous Government Conduct Doctrine

The Supreme Court has asserted that “it may someday be presented with a situation in which the conduct of law enforcement agents is so outrageous that due process principles would absolutely bar the government from invoking judicial processes to obtain a conviction.” Clearly that day has come. New York State will challenge the federal government’s zero-tolerance policy which leads to the unnecessary and inhumane separation of families and detention of children and which serves no legitimate national security or public safety purpose.

Earlier on Tuesday, Governor Cuomo issued an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence condemning the “zero-tolerance” policy and urging the federal government to end the mistreatment of immigrant families at the border.

The Governor’s call for legal action builds on the launch of new initiatives and increased services and support for New Americans across New York. In January, the Governor announced actions to protect thousands of immigrants from President Trump’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans, Haitians and Nicaraguans, including directing the Department of State to increase resources available to communities across New York.

On June 8, the Governor issued a letter to Department of Homeland Security Acting Inspector General John Kelly calling for an investigation into the conduct of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and on Sunday, June 17, the Governor again called on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the treatment of immigrant families at the border. On Monday, June 18, the Governor declared that New York State will not deploy National Guard to the border and will not support the federal government’s inhumane treatment of immigrant families.

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Ortt says governor’s pardons could have hundreds of sex offenders voting at school polling places
Posted 20 June 2018 at 9:41 am

Press Release, State Sen. Rob Ortt

Hundreds of child rapists and sex offenders, including high risk offenders who are deemed a “threat to public safety,” those with long rap sheets and some with victims as young as two years old, were included along with cop killer Herman Bell and other violent felons among those pardoned by the Governor last month and could be headed to school polling places to vote this fall.

While it’s impossible to know the exact number, since the Governor has not released names of the 24,086 felons issued pardons, a simple search of the state’s “Megan’s Law” registry against a public database of parolees in Western New York exposed dozens of sex offenders receiving the extraordinary pardons. There are 63 Senate districts, so the total is undoubtedly much higher and could reach thousands.

The registry includes names of sex offenders who are designated by a sentencing judge as “Level 2” if they pose a “moderate risk of repeat offense,” and “Level 3” when a “high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists.”

Among the high risk sex offenders receiving governor’s pardons are a Niagara County sex offender charged with having sex with two children, aged 10 and 11, as well as offenders who used guns, clubs, fists and other weapons to subdue and attack their victims.

“The governor ignored serious concerns raised by lawmakers and unilaterally pardoned 24,000 criminals last month,” said Senator Rob Ortt. “We’re already seeing the dangerous ramifications of these misguided, politically-motivated blanket pardons – countless Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders will soon be voting in our schools. With the governor making clear that he intends to pardon tens of thousands of parolees each month, we have an immediate obligation to prevent sexual predators from entering our schools and endangering our children.”

Schools are widely used as polling places across the state, with voters often interspersed with the general student population during school-polling hours. Polling inspectors generally can’t ask voters for identification, so it’s unlikely they would know a voter is listed on the registry. Being listed on the registry as a sex offender also is not among six approved reasons—such as being absent from the county or a resident of a nursing home—a voter can cite for the need to vote by mail using an absentee ballot. Ortt said he will continue to compile data and share findings with local police and school officials.

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Judge allows court case from Orleans, other counties to go forward against pharmaceutical companies
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2018 at 9:28 am

A court case from Orleans and other counties can go forward after a ruling on Monday by a state Supreme Court judge in Suffolk County.

Six pharmaceutical companies sought to dismiss lawsuits by several counties who say the drug manufacturers fueled an opioid crisis through misleading marketing campaigns that minimized the addiction risks of opioids.

Jerry Garguilo, the judge in Suffolk County, rejected arguments by OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and other companies who said the counties’ complaints were insufficiently alleged, time-barred or pre-empted by federal law.

The New York Association of Counties issued a statement on behalf of the counties on Monday.

“Today’s decision validates the efforts of the New York counties that there are triable issues of fact which should proceed before the State Supreme Court,” said Stephen J. Acquario, executive director and general counsel to the New York State Association of Counties. “It’s a very important milestone in this ongoing national and state litigation with far-reaching consequences that are felt in our counties every day. The effects of opioid addiction and destruction are pervasive, and today’s decision marks an important turning point.”

In addition to the New York counties’ pending action in New York State Supreme Court in Suffolk County, there are hundreds of state and local government cases filed in federal court, consolidated in the Northern District of Ohio.

The Orleans County Legislature on Sept. 27 voted to join the lawsuit against pharmaceuticals for allegedly fueling the opioid crisis.

The Legislature voted to retain Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, a Manhattan firm, in the lawsuit. The firm is paying any upfront costs for staffing and retaining expert witnesses, County Attorney David Schubel said then.

The counties are contending the pharmaceutical manufacturers knew that opioids were effective for short-term or trauma-related pain, as well as palliative (end-of-life) care. However, the manufacturers also knew for years that opioids were addictive and subject to abuse, especially when used for more than three months.

The lawsuit contends that prescription painkillers, as well as heroin abuse, are the prime causes for an increase in overdose deaths. In 2014, there were 28,647 opioid overdose deaths nationwide, a 14 percent increase from the previous year.

In 2014, the heroin overdose deaths in New York reached 825, a jump of 23 percent from the previous year and 25 times the number a decade earlier, according to a resolution from the County Legislature in September.

Orleans and other municipalities in the lawsuit are seeking to recover damages that have contributed “to high costs to the taxpayers in the form of increased social services, policing, and other expenditures,” according to the county resolution.

Pharmaceutical companies have denied misleading the public about the addictive nature of painkillers, such as Oxycontin. The prescription painkillers are FDA approved and include warnings on the product label about possible risks, the companies have said.

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