Medina police chief to retire in June
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2023 at 8:51 am

Chad Kenward has led department past 7 ½ years

Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward

MEDINA – Chad Kenward will retire as Medina’s police chief on June 9, ending a 20-year career with his hometown police department. Kenward started as police chief in December 2015 and has led the department for about 7 ½ years.

He started his law enforcement career in 1996 as a corrections officer in the Orleans County jail, and then was a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department before joining the Medina PD. While at Medina he was also a member of the Orleans County Multi-Agency SWAT Team.

“I’ve made a lot of great friendships and working relationships,” Kenward said about his career.

He worked eight of his years with the Medina PD as a school resource officer. He will return to that role for about a month before he retires. Medina is losing two full-time officers, Richard Messmer and Jacob Zangerle, who are transferring to other departments.

Medina currently has three new hires in the police academy but they aren’t ready to join the department yet for patrols.

The department will have the current SRO Dustin Meredith shift to the night shift from April 11 to May 5 while Kenward works as the school resource officer and also handles the duties as police chief. The last month he is police chief, he will use up his vacation time.

Kenward said keeping the department fully staffed has been a challenge, with many officer often moving to larger law enforcement agencies that offer higher pay and benefits.

He was praised by Mayor Mike Sidari for his professionalism and commitment to Medina.

“He is definitely a community-oriented police chief,” Sidari said after Monday’s Village Board meeting. “He has brought the department up to state standards. He has the respect of the officer, Village Board members and the residents.”

Village Trustee Jess Marciano has served on a 12-member Police Advisory Committee with Kenward for about two years. The group reviews police policies and solicits input from residents. Some of the members have gone on ride-a-longs with officers.

Marciano said she is impressed with Kenward and his concern for the community.

“He is a residents’ police chief,” she said. “It’s not the police versus the residents.”

Kenward led the department in having body cameras to be worn by all officers, and also increased training for responding to people in a mental health crisis.

Mayor Sidari said the Village Board is discussing the process for choosing Kenward’s successor, whether Medina will hire from within or do a bigger search. Todd Draper, the department’s lieutenant, has already passed the police chief’s exam, Sidari said.

Fire photo: Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward helps students navigate through a course while wearing goggles to simulate being impaired in this photo from May 2019. Lt. Todd Draper is second from left. The effort was an outreach to show high school students the impact on poor decision making with alcohol and drugs.

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Kendall among the winners in Tech Wars at GCC
Posted 27 March 2023 at 5:36 pm

Photos courtesy of GCC: Regatta was among the competitions at Tech Wars last week at GCC in Batavia.

Press Release, Genesee Community College

BATAVIA – Nearly 800 middle and high school students from 24 schools in the GLOW Region gathered on Thursday for GCC’s 14th Tech Wars, In addition, 100 third- through fifth-grade students attended for STEAM Jam, sponsored by the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The event was a huge success, with students showcasing their skills and knowledge in technology and engineering. The 2023 event introduced the Mini-Bot competition and brought back Skimmer Cars and Technical Drawing for the middle schoolers as well as other legacy events such as Catapult; Paper Airplane; Rube Goldberg; and Sculpture. Back by popular demand for all participants was the Mystery Event which allows students to use their creativity and skills in an on-demand, timed situation.

In the middle school category, Warsaw took the top prize, followed by Wayland Cohocton in second place, and a tie for third place between Alexander and Kendall.

In the high school category, Alexander took home first place, with Dansville in second place, and a tie for third place between Geneseo and Pioneer.

Students created robots to play soccer, sumo wrestle and also do a tractor pull.

The event was made possible by generous sponsors, including gold sponsors – Amada Tool America, Inc., GCEDC, GLOW with Your Hands, Graham Corporation, I.B.E.W. Local Union #86, LandPro Equipment, Liberty Pumps, Northeast Industrial Technologies, Inc., and Oxbo; silver sponsors – Takeform and RTMA/FLYAP (Rochester Technology & Manufacturing Association, Inc/Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Programs); and bronze sponsor – Varysburg Lions Club.

In addition to Tech Wars, GCC also hosted close to 200 students for the Genesee County Youth Bureau Youth Conference on March 21 and over 600 students from 28 school districts for the GLOW with Your Hands: Healthcare career exploration event on Friday, March 24.

“I want to extend my congratulations to all the winners of the 14th Tech Wars,” said Ann Valento, director of Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) programs at GCC. “Your hard work and dedication have paid off, and it’s inspiring to see so many talented students from across the GLOW Region come together to showcase their skills and knowledge.”

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Editorial: Bravo to 5 school districts for their musical productions

Photos by Tom Rivers: The cast of The Addams Family sings the opening number of “When You’re An Addams” during Friday’s show in the middle school auditorium. Zack Baron is in the lead role of Gomez and Mallory Ashbery plays his wife Morticia. The famously ghoulish family embraces being true to themselves and decries being “normal.”

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2023 at 3:26 pm

It has been a busy theatrical season for the five local school districts. They all put on full-length musicals. Albion did two – the Jungle Book by middles schoolers and The Addams Family by the high school.

This is the first time in at least 11 years all five districts have staged musicals. Lyndonville and Medina had a combined program hosted by Lyndonville for 11 years, until Medina decided to bring the program back to its own district.

Medina and Lyndonville both had crowd-pleasing shows and I expect they will be recognized by the Stars of Tomorrow, which honors the productions in the Rochester region – highlighting acting, dancing, singing, the sets and crews and overall production of the shows.

But the local districts don’t need to be validated by the Stars of Tomorrow to know they put on a good show. I attended all of the musicals in the county, and they all made their school districts and community proud.

Gabe Lindsay showed lots of exuberance in the lead role of the Willy Wonka in Holley Junior-Senior High School’s production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka last Friday and Saturday. This is from the opening scene of “Pure Imagination” with Willy Wonka joined by Oompa-Loompas. Holley always puts on a fun show. The school brought back the musical last year under new director Dustin Gardner following the retirement of Dan Burke. There wasn’t a show in 2021, and 2020 had all of the local musicals sidelined by Covid restrictions.

It’s no small feat to put on a musical – shows that can run two to three hours. These small districts have the talent in the students, and teams of teachers to lead the productions. The shows also tap into expertise outside the school walls for people to make costumes, build sets, play instruments in the pit orchestra, and cover other needs to make the shows so entertaining and well done.

These shows bring together cast crew members of about 50 to 100 people. The musicals unite them for a common purpose. The theater departments are places of acceptance and inclusion, finding spots for people regardless of their singing and dancing abilities, or where they stand on the social hierarchy.

These shows often bring powerful messages about friendship, love for community and what it means to be in a family.

There is Daddy Warbucks whose heart is melted by the orphan Annie. There is Dorothy who wants desperately to leave Oz and get back to her small town home in Kansas. And Willy Wonka teaches many lessons about greed.

Adriana Schiavone performs the lead role in Kendall Junior-Senior High School’s production of Annie. Kendall put on the show from March 10-11.

I was encouraged, too, that many of the musical cast and crew members tried to attend the shows by the other districts, offering support and loud applause, especially in Medina and Lyndonville, where those students had a strong bond for years doing shows together.

I heard many people from the older generation say the school plays have come a long way with the music, choreography, costumes, sound and lighting. Lyndonville even had five characters take flight to add to the magic of the story on the stage.

Next year I encourage everyone to check out the show at their school district, and see the ones at neighboring districts, too. The cast and crew deserve to perform in front of a full house.

Medina performed Little Mermaid from March 17-18 and they deserve applause for a great new beginning for the drama program. Elaina Huntington plays the role of Ursula, a sea witch/sorceress at left, and Seagan Majchrzak starred as Ariel.

Greyson Romano plays the role of the Great Oz who takes off too early in a hot air balloon near the end of the Wizard of Oz, which was performed Friday through Sunday in Lyndonville. Oz was one of five characters who took flight in the show. The characters wore a harness and they went airborne through wires and a tracking system. It was an element that added to the sense of awe and wonder of the show, which included 108 students from first grade to seniors.

Albion middle schoolers performed the Jungle Book on March 10-11. In this photo Ayme Vallejo Morales is Kaa, a python that sings “Trust in Me.” The snake has powers to hypnotize. The middle schoolers put on a full-length show every spring.

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Tenney backs legislation to modernize dairy pricing for farmers
Posted 27 March 2023 at 1:41 pm

Press Release, U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) recently cosponsored the Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act of 2023, which ensures dairy farmers can price their products to reflect today’s market environment.

This bill will increase transparency and modernize the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) system, giving our farmers confidence that any future changes to the program reflect economic fundamentals.

This bipartisan bill is being led in the House by Congressman Joe Morelle (NY-25) and Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23) and has a Senate companion led by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

“I am honored to represent New York’s 24th District, the largest dairy-producing district in the Northeast,” Tenney said. “The Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act ensures that dairy farmers and producers across New York can stay competitive amidst rising inflation rates, labor costs, and energy prices. This bill is essential so farmers can focus on the important work of producing food for our nation. I will continue to advocate for our nation’s farmers and producers and promote stability in the dairy market.”

Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said federal milk marketing reform is a key priority for AFBF.

“Dairy farmers deserve clarity and confidence in how they are paid, and all-inclusive cost and yield surveying of processors is a good first step to ensure make allowances are being calculated fairly and accurately,” Duvall said. “Switching back to the ‘higher-of’ Class I formula as quickly as possible is a priority of our dairy farmers. We commend Rep. Langworthy for including a provision that would require USDA to initiate a National Federal Order hearing process that will allow us to pursue this change administratively while we also pursue the change legislatively.”

David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President and dairy farmer, said meaningful Federal Milk Market Order reform is essential for New York’s dairy farms to help ensure they receive a fair price for their milk.

“Farm Bureau has long been advocating for federal order changes and created a special working group made up of farmers and industry leaders to help identify areas for the key change,” Fisher said.

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Orleans Learning Center teacher tries to make history come to life with artifacts
Posted 27 March 2023 at 1:33 pm

Provided photo: John Osterhoudt, wearing gas mask, likes to shares historical artifacts with his class.

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – John Osterhoudt started his career as a teacher aide at the Orleans Learning Center.  He has since earned his certification and degree to be a teacher.

He is now teaching Global 1&2, Participation in Government/Economics and United States history at the building. Teacher aide Heather Parsell said, “He loves getting the students involved and excited about history. One way he does this is by doing hands-on activities that involve historical actual artifacts.”

Mr. Osterhoudt said he has always had a love of history and has collected items with historical significance since he was 13 years old.

“I wanted to be able to incorporate these items into my class lessons,” he said. “The students get to touch them and try them on. It is a great teaching tool.”

The students are fascinated by some of the collectibles he brings in, especially when he reveals their age, some are over 100 years old.

“They are in disbelief over the age and what they were used for, especially my World War I collection,” he said.

The students have experienced some of his collectables from the 1920s as well like a telegraph machine and a typewriter.

“I like to bring in something from every era that we study here in class,” Osterhoudt said. “I think it makes history come to life.”

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Velocitii in Medina named a ‘top workplace’ in the Rochester region
Posted 27 March 2023 at 12:13 pm

Press Release, Velocitii

Provided photo: Heath Smith is CEO of Velocitii, which is based in the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue in Medina. The company was founded in 2014 by Roger Hungerford.

MEDINA – Velocitii LLC, a business process outsourcing company, has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2023 award by The Rochester Top Workplaces. Velocitii is one of 79 companies in the Rochester region to receive the honor.

This award recognizes the company’s commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, employee development, and engagement.

Velocitii’s win is a testament to the company’s strong focus on its employees. The company has implemented several initiatives to improve its workplace culture, including its Future Leaders Development Program, monthly town hall meetings, pay-for-performance structure, employee appreciation days and a generous holiday bonus system.

Additionally, Velocitii implemented Yammer, an internal social network, to keep employees connected and engaged, even while working remotely.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as a top workplace in our region!” said Heather Smith, CEO of Velocitii. “At Velocitii, we believe that culture is the secret ingredient to success as a company. Employees who feel valued and rewarded provide exceptional service to our customers and that is a win-win. I want to personally thank all of our employees for continuing to provide input and suggestions that help Velocitii be an employer of choice. This award would not have been possible without open communication and mutual trust”

This prestigious award serves as a testament to the company’s commitment to its employees, and underscores the fact that a strong focus on employee satisfaction and fulfillment is key to achieving long-term success in the highly competitive BPO industry.

Velocitii’s ability to foster a workplace environment that promotes growth, innovation, and collaboration has positioned it as an employer of choice, that is well-poised to continue its growth and success in the years to come.

Editor’s Note: Velocitii, as a business process outsourcing company, provides support for other businesses, handling calls for customers about plans, billing and troubleshooting. Velocitii works with companies in healthcare, waste management, hospitality, e-commerce, auto insurance and technology.

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UB seismic study, using structure built by Job Corps students, shows unexpected damage in earthquake simulation

Photos by Ginny Kropf: (Left) Professor Andreas Stavridis, principal investigator in UB’s seismic lab, shows a video on Friday of a test they conducted on a structure built with assistance from Iroquois Job Corps masonry students. This picture shows the back of the building before any damage was sustained. This is the largest building ever tested in the United States on a shake table. (Right) Lino Cometto, an instructor in Iroquois Job Corps’ masonry program, Professor Andreas Stavridis from UB’s seismic lab and Robert Kelichner, also an instructor at Iroquois Job Corps’ masonry program, discuss the damage done on a shake table to a reinforced brick structure built with assistance from Job Corps students. The Job Corps instructors and two masonry students visited UB’s seismic lab on Friday.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 27 March 2023 at 8:49 am

‘What we know so far is very eye opening. It can change the building code.’

BUFFALO – Researchers at the University of Buffalo have been working for almost four years on a project to improve the seismic performance and resilience of unreinforced masonry buildings. During the past year they have received help from masonry students at the Iroquois Job Corps in Medina for construction of the test structures, one of which is the largest ever tested on a shake table.

The project is funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and has also received donations and contributions from HILTI, the International Masonry Institute, Iroquois Job Corps, the Brick Industry Association, the Belden Brick Company and Glen-Gery Corporation.

This structure, built with help from Iroquois Job Corps’ masonry students, was tested for a week at the University at Buffalo’s structural and earthquake simulation lab. The last test damaged the structure beyond repair. Professor Andreas Stavridis, the Principal Investigator of the project, said he didn’t expect to see this amount of damage.

On Friday morning, Iroquois Job Corps masonry instructors Lino Cometto and Robert Kelichner and two Job Corps students traveled to the University at Buffalo’s Ketter Hall, expecting to witness a shake table test of a building they had helped apprentices and researchers construct. This would have been the sixth day of seismic tests on the building.

Upon arriving at Ketter Hall, the instructors and students learned from Professor Andreas Stavridis, the Principal Investigator of the project, that the strengthened masonry building sustained considerable damage during a test they decided to do on Thursday, feeling confident it would not sustain damage.

Stavridis explained the building was reinforced with five steel members placed in strategic locations, as well as steel plates and anchors.

“If it wasn’t for those steel members, the building would have collapsed,” Stavridis said. “They did well, but we have to do better. I was very surprised at what happened. “We had done two other tests and didn’t find a crack. This test, however, was 20 percent stronger. Now we need to study the data we have from the 170 sensors on the building. Once we understand what happened, we will investigate ways to improve the behavior. Then, we will build and test another one next year.”

It took the apprentice bricklayers and Job Corps students a week and a half to build the masonry structure. Then the researchers build a roof, and installed the steel members for the seismic upgrade. They also installed a large array of sensors. They started testing the structure in week 9 and, they are into their 10th week in the lab, Stavridis said.

Stavridis said UB’s seismic lab was the only one of its kind in the US able to conduct this test when he wrote the proposal to NIST.

He discussed the importance of strengthening masonry structures to withstand severe earthquakes, such as the recent one in Turkey.

“There are more than eight million buildings of unreinforced masonry buildings in the country,” he said. “Two years ago, one came down in Buffalo.”

“Some are more than 100 years old,” Cometto said.

After examining the damaged brick structure, the Job Corps masonry instructors and students, along with several others interested observers were able to watch a video of Thursday’s tests.

In the initial tests, nothing happened, but in the last shake, large cracks began to appear, until finally a whole corner came down from the front. The researchers stopped the earthquake half way through to prevent the collapse of the entire structure, which would be catastrophic for the laboratory equipment.

“What we know so far is very eye opening. It can change the building code,” Stavridis said. “This was a very unique test and we have a lot of work to do analyzing the data we got. We will also build computer models to help us understand what factors contributed to what happened.”

“We won’t know for sure for a couple of months,” he said. “When we do, we will build another.”

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Snowdrop flowers make spring appearance
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2023 at 8:10 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Snowdrop flowers have popped up in front of the First Baptist Church in Albion on West Park Street. They are a common sight right now around Orleans County.

This week there will be early spring-like weather. Today is forecast for a high of 37 with rain possibly mixed with snow.

That will be followed by a mostly cloudy Tuesday with a high of 40, and then a partly sunny Wednesday with a high of 47.

Thursday will be mostly sunny with a high near 40, followed by showers on Friday with a high of 54.

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Murray Joint Fire District honors firefighters for service, including 2 for 50 years
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 March 2023 at 2:25 pm

District responded to 776 calls in 2022, up about 100 from previous year

Photos by Tom Rivers: Don Blosenhauer receives certificates of commendation for 50 years of service a firefighter in Fancher-Hulberton-Murray. He is congratulated by, from left, county legislators John Fitzak, Ed Morgan and Skip Draper (representing State Sen. Rob Ortt), and Eileen Banker (representing Assemblyman Steve Hawley).

CLARENDON – The Murray Joint Fire District held its installation dinner and awards banquet on Saturday at the Clarendon rec hall. The joint district includes firefighters from Fancher-Hulberton-Murray and Holley. They started a joint district on Jan. 1, 2021.

Two firefighters were recognized for 50 years of service. James Mingano has a half century with Holley. He was unable to attend the dinner.

Don Blosenhauer also was honored for 50 years of service, all as an active firefighter. Blosenhauer joined Fancher-Hulberton-Murray at age 18. His father Joseph was one of the charter members of FHM, and young Don hung out at the firehall often as a kid. He eagerly joined as a volunteer firefighter when he turned 18.

“It seemed exciting,” he said on Saturday. “I don’t regret any of it. It’s a lot of camaraderie.”

Blosenhauer worked his way up as a line officer and twice served as chief of FHM. In December he was elected as one of the commissioners of the Murray Joint Fire District.

Mark Porter, president of the Murray Joint Fire District Board of Commissioners, presents a plaque to Don Blosenhauer in appreciation for 50 years of service as volunteer firefighter.

Blosenhauer said training requirements are much more demanding now than when he started, and those requirements keep many from volunteering. He said those regulations, while time-consuming, make firefighting safer for the volunteers.

“It has changed a lot,” he said about the fire service. “There is much more of a safety focus now.”

Blosenhauer has two sons who are active firefighters: Adam and DJ. Blosenhauer’s wife Mary also has been active with the Ladies Auxiliary for about 40 years. Her father, John Sanderson, also was a charter member at FHM.

Blosenhauer said his family has been very understanding of the times when he left family gatherings and missed some of his children’s activities to respond to a fire call or other emergency.

He said he plans to keep staying active as a firefighter. He retired two years ago after a full-time career that included working as a welder, at a stone quarry in Hulberton, as a fabricator with the former Liftec in Holley, and lastly at Bonduelle in Brockport.

Rick Cary, the fire district chief, said firefighters from FHM and Holley responded to 776 calls in 2022, which was up about 150 from the previous year. EMS was the leading call, followed by lift assists, Cary said.

He commended the Murray firefighters for also assisting on about 100 mutual aid calls.

“That speaks not only to the dedication to our community but to our neighbors as well,” Cary said.

Cary announced the fire district will be looking to step up fire prevention efforts this year, educating people from Pre-K to senior citizens.

Fire Chief Rick Cary presents Colton Tuttle with the top responder award. Tuttle made it to about 600 of the fire district calls which Cary said is amazing dedication.

Richard “Dick” Alvut walks to the podium to accept the chief’s award from Rick Cary. Alvut has been very dedicated to the fire district, especially with the fire police. About 140 people attended Saturday’s dinner and banquet.

Frank Balys also is commended for 25 years of volunteer service as a Holley firefighter. He received awards from the local legislators, the Murray Joint Fire District and the Holley Fire Department.

Greg Stafford also was recognized for 30 years to the Holley Fire Department.

Mark Porter presents a plaque to Ed Morgan for his 30 years of service as a fire commissioner, including with the transition to a joint fire district. Most of his time was with the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray fire district.

Fran Gaylord, president of the Holley Fire Department, presents a president’s award to Kevin Dann for all of his assistance, including helping to organize the department’s roster on the computer.

Gaylord also said Ron Meiers, a long-time member who was unable to attend the dinner on Saturday, also will get a president’s award for his reliability to the department in so many ways.

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Medina winter guard performs for final time before championship on April 1
Posted 26 March 2023 at 12:18 pm

Provided photos: Medina’s varsity winter guard is shown competing at Jamestown on Saturday.

Press Release, Medina Marching Band Boosters

JAMESTOWN – Both of Medina’s winter guard units traveled to Jamestown on Saturday for their sixth competition this season. The show included 11 guard units.

In the Scholastic A class, Medina came in 4th place with a score of 75.49, bested by Orchard Park in 1st with 82.58, Jamestown in 2nd with 79.75 and Lancaster in 3rd at 79.22.

In the Cadet class, the Medina JV guard earned second place with 65.46, topped by Hinsdale in 1st place in the A1 class with 72.98.

In Independent A, Batavia scored 81.98; Senior class, Luminosa with 87.27; and Regional A, the Corry indoor guard with 68.19.

The next and final competition is the North East Color Guard Circuit Championship on April 1 at the Gates-Chili High School, 1 Spartan Way, Rochester.  The show starts at 1 p.m. with 21 guards in total competing in 7 classifications.

The junior varsity winter guard also competed at Jamestown on Saturday.

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South Barre was home of ‘Water Cure’ site about 150 years ago, boasting healing powers
Posted 26 March 2023 at 8:44 am

Photographs of the South Barre Water Cure are rare. This image appeared in the Orleans Republican, Jan. 13, 1966

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian 

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 3, No. 11

BARRE – The curative powers of drinking and soaking in mineral waters were acknowledged by the ancient Greek and Romans. In 18th century England, visitors flocked to the city of Bath to partake of its hot spring mineral waters.

Vincenz Priessnitz (1799-1851), an Austrian who is considered the founder of modern hydrotherapy, popularized the concept of water-cure establishments which combined various forms of water treatment with rest, exercise and clean air.

This concept of hydrotherapy as an alternative medicine became popular in the United States during the 1840s and 1850s. At a time when public water was often contaminated and the source of disease – when mortality was high and antibiotics yet unknown – this was quickly accepted as a viable treatment for a variety of acute conditions: gout, liver ailments, stomach inflammation, rheumatism, and skin disorders.

The treatment regimen usually involved drinking copious amounts of special or “pure” water, taking cold showers, cold baths and being wrapped in cold sheets.

Soon most communities in New York State could boast a “water cure”. In Western New York, mineral spring resorts opened at Alden, Avon, Castile, Chautauqua, Clifton Springs, Cold Springs, Cuba, Dansville, and Wyoming. By 1900, sixty-four such resorts had been opened in New York State.

Two water cure locations operated in Orleans County. The Alabama Sour Springs also known as the Oak Orchard Sour Springs is familiar to many. The Water Cure which operated in South Barre is less well known. Located in the Town of Barre, on the south side of Oak Orchard Road where the road runs east and west, and just north of the mucklands, it was short-lived and seemingly only established by default.

As befitting its location on the edge of the mysterious Tonawanda Swamp, the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the Water Cure are murky. Visions, mediums, spiritualists, petroleum wells, large sums of money and exaggerated claims were involved.

In some accounts, Mrs. Sarah Collins, a wealthy widow from Genesee County whose married daughter lived in Barre, claimed to have received communications from the spirits who instructed her to drill for oil at a specific location out in the swamp. In 1868, she hired an experienced team of men who drilled to a depth of 1,400 feet with no success.

The spirits then advised her to drill at another location at the edge of the swamp. Having drilled to a depth of 1,200 feet, the drill team did not find oil but discovered “a flowing stream of water which had a strong and unpleasant odor”, which, according to the spirits, possessed medicinal properties.

However, a lawsuit outlined in the Democrat and Chronicle of Friday, June 17, 1877, indicates that it was Jeremiah Eighmie, a wealthy spiritualist from Dutchess County, who financed the drilling, having purchased the 1,500 acres of swampland from Ezra B. Booth on the recommendation of Mrs. Collins and her spiritual advisors. He claimed that the “valuable deposits” of coal and oil promised were falsely represented and he sued to recover damages for his investment of $20,000.

The construction of the “Water Cure”, as it was locally known, is attributed to the ever resourceful Mrs. Collins. It was an imposing three-story structure, about 200 feet wide and 300 feet long, located close to the wells where the curative water had been discovered. A first-class sanitarium facility was located on the first floor. Parlors, reception rooms, dining halls and sleeping quarters were also outfitted.

The building boasted a central heating system: heat produced by a large pipe-less furnace in the basement rose through a large floor register in the first-floor main entry area and then through floor and ceiling registers to the upper floors.

Three windmills were erected at the wells, iron pipes were laid underground to carry the water to the hotel. The acidic spring water or “sulphur water” prevalent throughout the Tonawanda Swamp area is the product of geochemical processes involving the oxidation of organic carbon and pyrite. It smells rank, tastes foul, and is so acidic it can curdle milk. Its curative properties are dubious at best. But at that time, it was convincingly presented and advertised with ringing testimonials. It is likely that any improvement experienced by clients was due to the change of scene, clean air, and rest.

The Water Cure enterprise at South Barre was short lived due in large part to the untimely death of Mrs. Collins, its principal investor. Regardless of its purported curative properties, its location, eight miles from the nearest railroad station in Albion, was a deterrent for prospective clients since many other such establishments were more easily accessible.

The cost – $1 per couple for supper and dance – would approximate to $30 today.

In later years, the building hosted local dinners, dances, and social events. Local young men: Henry Seager, 21, George Kerrison, 17 and Walter Mattison, 18, organized this November 3, 1882 “Social Hop”. George Gibbs owned the property from about 1890 to 1915, it later burned.

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Refill with Randy – Discover one of area’s hidden gems, the Holley Falls
By Orleans Hub Posted 26 March 2023 at 8:00 am

Today I want to talk about one of Orleans County’s hidden gems—Holley Falls. I say hidden not only because this beautiful respite is tucked in behind the bank, pharmacy, and other businesses in the heart of Holley but also because I personally did not know about it for the first 8 years after moving to the area.

This might seem absurd to some, since it is a such a sought out location for senior pics, weddings, and fishing among other things, but I have discovered lifelong residents who have either not heard of, or at least had not visited, there yet.

So what makes this place so special? Well, first off, the scenery really is gorgeous no matter the season—and this coming from someone who lived in Niagara Falls for 6 years prior to moving here. You can check out some of the photos below or take a virtual tour with me to the top of the Falls by clicking 

Even more than the beauty though is the serenity that I personally experience there. While on a 6-week sabbatical in 2018 it became my outdoor office.

On many occasion I simply stop and get out of my car for few minutes in order to recenter between making difficult hospice care visits, and just this past October I participated in Supportive Care of Orleans’ “Walk to Remember” where I walked for my mother who died from brain cancer in 2012 while in hospice care. You can click here if you would like to experience a virtual walk from that event  

Ultimately The Falls are something to be experienced more than simply seen in pics or described in words so I would encourage each of you to stop by soon and encounter it for yourself. You won’t regret it.

See you in two weeks!
Pastor Randy

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Runners brave downpour for annual Burlison Colon Cancer Awareness 5K in Albion
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 March 2023 at 6:12 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – These runners make a final push towards the finish line in today’s Wayne A. Burlison Colon Cancer Awareness Run in Albion. From left include Micah Martin of Albion, Mark Basile of Williamsville, Mickalene Cross of Forestville and her nephew Nathan Cross of Silver Creek.

The race started on Clarendon Road near the elementary school, went down Route 31 to Mount Albion Cemetery for a loop and then came back on 31 with the participants finishing in the parking lot of the elementary school.

About 50 people completed the 3.17 mile course in heavy rain. The top three finishers in age groups received one of these coasters with a saxophone player. There were also medals and mugs with a similar likeness.

The event is in memory of an Albion elementary music teacher who passed away at age 36 from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

Burlison’s wife Lisa and son Adam attended today’s event in Albion.

Lindon Morici of Albion was the first female with a time of 22:02 and Rodney Egli of Newark was the fastest male at 20:38. The course is slightly longer than a 5K at 3.17 miles.

The race is organized by Bert Gallmon of Wolfpack Multisport, which also manages the Albion Strawberry Festival 5K and 8K on June 10.

Gallmon wanted to add a half marathon to today’s Burlison event. He is hoping the half marathon will debut for the race next March.

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Extension offering basic computer skills class with Tech 360
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 March 2023 at 8:19 am

Those who complete 6-hour course can receive a free computer

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Alwyn Cayea and Abby Smith of Medina discuss a new free computer class with Katie Leach at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. Tech 360 is being offered to 10 individuals who want to learn basic computer skills and receive a free computer at the end of the 6-hour course.

KNOWLESVILLE – A new free class, Tech 360, offers basic computer skills at the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

And there is an added a bonus: the first 93 people who complete the six-hour course can receive a free refurbished desktop computer to take home.

Tech 360 will be held over three weeks and open to the first 93 individuals who register.

The class will be taught by Alwyn Cayea and Abby Smith of Medina, both interning Americorps students, with guidance from Katie Leach, who oversees the Orleans Digital Literacy Program.

Tech 360 is a collaborative mission with Ignite Western New York Digital Equity Coalition, a community collaboration of representatives from community-based organizations, business, government, school districts, higher education, philanthropy and unaffiliated community members. Leach is a member of the Coalition. Its goal is to get computers into the hands of families who previously couldn’t afford one because of (1) affordability, (2) lacking the technology and (3) no internet access.

“We are trying to address all of these with the Digital Literacy Initiative,” Leach said.

The Tech 360 class will fall under the umbrella of United Way of Orleans County, which secured the grant to fund the Orleans County Digital Literacy Initiative.

The first class will be April 12, followed by classes on April 19 and 26. All classes will be from 1 to 3 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Participants must complete all six hours of classes to receive their free computer.

“Alwyn and I are both looking forward to teaching the classes,” Smith said. “We’ve been brushing up on our curriculum.”

Leach said she expects the classes to fill up fast. Anyone wanting to register may call Cooperative Extension at (585) 798-4265, Ext. 146 or (585) 857-9883 or e-mail Anyone is eligible as long as they are over the age of 14.

If the classes fill up, there will be a waiting list, Leach said. She also said her office offers other services, such as one-on-one technical tutoring, classes upon request and help in applying for $30 a month Internet under the Affordable Connectivity Program of FCC. More information on that is available online at

Anyone who receives any kind of benefits, such as free school lunches, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits or is at or below the poverty level is eligible for the low-cost Internet.

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600 students from GLOW counties see health-related careers at debut event held at GCC

Photos by Tom Rivers: The inaugural GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare included 600 students from 28 school districts from Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. They were able to meet with 50 different vendors, including some that offered hands-on healthcare career exploration in an event at Genesee Community College.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2023 at 5:59 pm

BATAVIA – About 600 high school students from 29 districts in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties spent several hours today at Genesee Community College, learning about career opportunities in healthcare.

The inaugural GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare was held at GCC. The five school districts from Orleans County – Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina – were among those that attended the event.

The students received hands-on instruction and experience in first aid/CPR, nursing, caretaking and other healthcare-related activities. The students were also provided information about secondary career paths such as physical therapy, complementary and alternative medicine, Doctor of Medicine, and many other careers in healthcare.

“The kids have shown a spark,” said Jay Lazarony, executive director of the GLOW Workforce Development Board. “They’ve said they like so many of them.”

The event was supported by business and educational groups and sponsors, with many of the healthcare providers saying they need workers.

The event grew out of success from the GLOW With Your Hands event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds. That event educates students through simulations and other hands-on experiences in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture, food processing and skilled trades sectors on career opportunities available in students’ own backyards.

A large team in the GLOW Workforce System organizes the Glow With Your Hand events.

Oak Orchard Health was among the organizations and businesses looking to connect with students. Joe Palmeri, left, is the organization’s chief human resources officer and Mary Kelly-Pelletier is the director of nursing.

“We want to get our name out in the community and get younger people interested in healthcare,” Kelly-Pelletier said.

Oak Orchard has sites in Albion, Lyndonville, Medina, Brockport, Batavia, Pembroke and Alexander, as well as Warsaw and Hornell.

“Recruiting healthcare workers can be a challenge in rural areas,” Palmeri said.

Orleans Community Health had a spot at the event with students able to meet Kristin Grose, left, the human resources benefits specialist at OCH and Christine Kropf, the corporate educator for the organization.

Orleans Community Health has been growing, adding about 40 jobs in the past 2 ½ years with a short-term rehab of about two to four weeks on the second floor of Medina Memorial Hospital, and also more surgical services offered at the hospital.

“We’ve grown a lot with the additional services at the hospital,” Grose said. “We thought it was really important to expose kids to all the different aspects of healthcare.”

Students may only think of nurses and doctors for healthcare careers, but Grose said there are many other positions, from respiration therapists, to working in the lab and other services.

The OCH spot at GCC also quizzed students on whether they could tell the difference based on appearance of pills and candy. Grose said students were right 70 to 80 percent of the time. Some vitamins look very much like a prescription pill, she said.

All of the students stopped by first responder demonstrations in the gymnasium at GCC.

This photo shows Dustin Pahura, a Medina firefighter, showing students how to do CPR. Andrew Cheverie, another Medina firefighter, also showed how to do CPR, including on infants.

Pam Cherry of Albion (right), outreach coordinator for Mercy Flight EMS, and Terry Thompson, an advanced EMT, showed students how to apply a tourniquet as part of a “stop the bleed” demonstration.

Cherry said the students were very engaged in wanting to know how to do emergency medical care. She encouraged many of them to seek out their local fire departments to volunteer. That is often the first step to getting training to become an EMT, she said.

“We are trying to spark something,” she said about Mercy Flight’s presence at today’s event. “This industry is in desperate need. Most of the fire departments say they need people, especially in Orleans County where almost all of the fire departments are volunteer.”

Justin Niederhofer, Orleans County’s emergency management director, and LeeAnn Dann, Monroe Ambulance’s training manager, also let students try to “stop the bleed” with tourniquets.

Niederhofer said many students showed interest in careers as firefighters and EMTs.

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