Stipends range from $500 to $1,250 depending on various training courses
Photo by Tom Rivers: An Albion firefighter is up high in the ladder truck on Sunday, directing water on the Frank’s Auto Center which was engulfed in flames on Route 31 in Albion.
Press Release, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced the start of a 60-day public comment period for draft regulations establishing New York’s first training stipend program for volunteer firefighters.
As part of Governor Hochul’s effort to strengthen and stabilize New York’s volunteer fire service, $10 million was secured in the FY2023-24 State Budget to offset the costs of training courses which volunteer firefighters are required to complete. The program’s draft regulations were published in the State Register on November 29, 2023 and will now undergo a 60-day public comment period.
“The role volunteer firefighters play in our communities cannot be overstated, and with so many departments facing recruitment and retention challenges, it’s critical we support these brave men and women who keep our communities safe,” said New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray. “Training is an essential component of firefighting and by offsetting its cost, New York is making it easier for volunteer firefighters statewide to continue serving their communities, without impacting their own bottom line.”
Volunteer fire departments serve approximately 9 million New Yorkers, nearly half of the State’s population. In recent years, however, more than three-quarters of these departments have reported a decrease in the number of individuals willing to volunteer and serve.
This is further compounded by the increased operational responsibilities beyond fire protection to include vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, hazardous material spills, and weather-related rescue operations. At the same time, calls for service have increased 29 percent from 1997 to 2020.
As part of the effort to strengthen and stabilize the state’s volunteer fire service, the Division’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) will administer the stipend to volunteer firefighters for completion of the following training courses completed on or after August 31, 2023:
Additionally, a local fire training stipend may be authorized for the completion of any OFPC training course or equivalents, as determined by OFPC, up to $500.
Stipends are for first time course completions of the listed OFPC course or equivalency as determined by OFPC. Students must be a member of good standing as determined by their department and stipend applications are submitted by the fire chief.
To be eligible, fire departments must have submitted fire reporting for the previous calendar year and complete the annual fire department demographics form. This regulation also authorizes volunteer fire departments to pay volunteer firefighters a training stipend, subject to local funding, for the completions of certain courses, identified by the Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $100 million is now available for zero-emission school buses under the historic $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.
The New York School Bus Incentive Program provides funding to make clean buses and the associated charging infrastructure more affordable for public school districts and bus operators that contract with them while reducing pollution, and improving air quality in communities across the state, particularly those that are underserved.
Today’s announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 and New York State’s requirements that all school buses in New York State be zero-emission by 2035.
“New York State is empowering school districts to embrace zero-emission school buses which will provide our leaders of tomorrow with healthy and clean transportation today,” Governor Hochul said. “Ensuring electric school buses are at the forefront of student transport is a critical health investment and demonstrates the benefits of clean energy while reducing harmful emissions to improve air quality and protect our precious environment.”
Administered by The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), NYSBIP provides incentives to eligible school bus fleet operators that purchase zero-emission battery electric vehicles (BEV) or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). This funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis with incentive amounts starting at $114,000 and covering up to 100 percent of the incremental cost of a new or repowered zero-emission school bus, depending on the type of vehicle.
Larger voucher amounts are available for priority districts that include high-need school districts and disadvantaged communities, as defined by the New York State Climate Justice Working Group. Additional incentives are also available for fleets removing internal combustion engine buses from operation, purchasing wheelchair accessible buses, or purchasing buses with vehicle to grid capability.
(Editor’s Note: All five school districts in Orleans – Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina – are considered priority districts. Albion and Medina are also categorized as “high need rural” while Holley, Kendall and Lyndonville are “average need,” according to the state.
The program also provides rebates to eligible school bus fleet operators who purchase and install eligible charging infrastructure in association with newly purchased zero-emission school buses. School bus fleet owners (the school district or their contractor) are also eligible to receive $25,000 per bus for charging infrastructure, or $35,000 if they serve a priority district. Fleet owners that have completed electrification plans are eligible to receive $55,000 per bus for charging infrastructure, or $65,000 if they serve a priority district. Vehicle manufacturers and bus dealers can also continue to apply to offer their vehicles on a rolling basis.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2023 at 1:08 pm
ALBION – An Albion man pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court this morning to aggravated driving while intoxicated and could face up to 6 months in the county jail, as well as 5 years of probation when he is sentenced on Jan. 31.
Brandon Woodhams, 31, said in court today he had been drinking and his ability to drive was impaired on Aug. 10 in Gaines, when he had a child under age 15 with him.
Woodhams was given a breathalyzer and recorded a 0.23 percent BAC, about three times above the legal limit for DWI.
In other cases:
• Cal Share of Kendall was sentenced to a year in the county jail by Judge Sanford Church.
Share admitted to violating his probation in a previous court appearance. He is on probation for driving while intoxicated.
He admitted to drinking alcohol on several occasions including twice when his ignition interlock device indicated he had been drinking, for failing to report to probation on six occasions, for having an adulterated urine sample and for not doing any of his community service.
Public Defender Joanne Best presented three letters of support for Share, providing testimonials to his good character as an employee, friend and family member.
Judge Church said Share has been on probation three times. He noted that Share tried to deceive Probation with an adulterated urine sample.
• Angel Marrero, 46, of Rochester was arraigned on three different alleged burglaries, with two in Clarendon and one in Murray. Those burglaries allegedly happened in June and July.
He was arraigned on two counts of burglary in the second degree, one count of grand larceny in the third degree for stealing property worth $6,700, one county of grand larceny in the fourth degree for taking property worth $2,000, one county of petit larceny and two counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree.
The judge set bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.
• Kevin McEwen, 41, of Kendall was arraigned on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal use of a firearm, and second-degree menacing.
McEwen allegedly fired two rounds from a Glock near a person on Sept. 18 in Kendall, not intending to hurt the person but make the person scared. He has already posted $1,000 cash bail.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 29 November 2023 at 11:32 am
Provided photo: Mike Randall will perform his solo impersonation of Charles Dickens Presents: “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 16 at Barre Center Presbyterian Church.
BARRE CENTER – Mike Randall, retired feature reporter for WKBW Channel 7, will present his critically acclaimed rendition of Charles Dickens in “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 16 at the Barre Center Presbyterian Church.
The solo performance will begin at 7 p.m. and feature Randall in what has been acclaimed as “an exquisite, moving performance.”
Randall’s appearance comes from an invitation by Albion native Charles Nesbitt, who has invited Randall to the Albion area several times in recent years to do his impersonation of Mark Twain and Dickens.
Having performed his Mark Twain show for 51 years and now the Dickens show for 16 years, Randall has been to Orleans County a number of times throughout the years.
“The first time I brought Charles Dickens to Orleans County was 2009 at the Carlton Methodist Church for two performances, with a return engagement in 2021,” Randall said.
Randall is a lover of Buffalo history and when he discovered Charles Dickens performed in Buffalo in 1868, he decided to recreate Dickens presentation of his most well-known story, “A Christmas Carol.”
Randall started performing as Mark Twain in his first year of college, just to see if he could do it. His first show was May 14, 1972 at Rosary Hill College. He celebrated his 50th anniversary of the show on May 14 last year at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.
“Mike Randall is a gifted performer who once again brings the spirit of Christmas to Orleans County,” Nesbitt said. “The beautifully decorated Barre Center Presbyterian Church is the perfect place to experience an evening immersed in Charles Dickens classic story.”
Randall said coming to Orleans County has always been special for him. He and his wife Kathy are avid campers and have a favorite spot at Golden Hill State Park.
“As a reporter for WKBW-TV I would always enjoy my trips to the country to cover stories,” Randall said. “And now I have family in the county. My son, his wife and my grandchildren live in Medina.”
In addition to his 40 years as an award-winning feature reporter on Channel 7, Randall also spent several years as chief meteorologist. He has also performed a variety of roles in theaters across the country, and spent time as the Marvelous Magical Burger King, where he perfected his abilities as a magician and live family entertainer. He is a member of the Puppeteers of America, and was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame in September 2017.
Tickets to see Randall as Charles Dickens at Barre Center Presbyterian Church are $20 and available at Orleans Travel Bureau at 21 East Bank St., Albion, or from church members. A limited number will be available at the door.
BROCKPORT – Oak Orchard Health was awarded the Community Health Quality Recognition (CHQR) Badges for Health IT and Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).
CHQR badges recognize Health Centers that have made notable achievements in the areas of access, quality, health equity, health information technology, social risk factors screening, and Covid-19 public health emergency response using Uniform Data System (UDS) from the most recent reporting period.
“We’re excited to receive this recognition, especially the Health IT badge,” said Karen Kinter, CEO of Oak Orchard Health. “With a vast base of over 30,000 patients in rural areas, technology helps us keep our patients healthy. Whether it’s by using our electronic medical records system or our patient portal, our providers and patients have access to information that helps Oak Orchard diagnose and treat our patients efficiently.”
Oak Orchard Health was awarded the Health IT badge because it met all the following criteria:
Adopted an electronic health record (EHR) system.
Offered telehealth services.
Exchanged clinical information online with key providers’ health care settings.
Engaged patients through health IT.
Collected data on patient social risk factors.
“Oak Orchard has been staying at the forefront of technology to document medical information efficiently and improve our access to patients,” said Jason Kuder, Chief Information Officer for Oak Orchard Health. “We encourage our patients to use the patient portal because they will have access to their medical information, be able to ask questions of their medical providers, and request medication refills. Telehealth has been a breakthrough for our patients because of the challenges many have with transportation and other barriers that keep them from coming into the health centers. Now they can receive medical or behavioral health care from home using their telephone, tablet or computer.”
What is a patient-centered medical home?
Oak Orchard Health has been a certified Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) since 2012. This certification means our patients can count on high-quality health care delivered with an emphasis on care coordination and communication. The focus is on comprehensive care which is a team effort. That team includes physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, nurses, nutritionists, educators, and care coordinators. Our Care Team’s goal is to provide each patient with the best care uniquely suited to his or her specific needs.
About Oak Orchard Health
Originally founded in 1973, Oak Orchard Health has grown from a migrant health project into an integrated health center with multiple locations providing health care services including primary care, pediatric care, vision care, dental care, behavioral health, as well as nutrition and outreach services for everyone located in the communities they serve. Oak Orchard Health is a recognized patient-centered medical home and 501(c) nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center located in the towns of Albion, Alexander, Batavia, Brockport, Corfu, Hornell, Medina, and Warsaw. With the addition of the Mobile Medical Unit and Mobile Dental Unit, we will further increase access to care for our patients.
Photos courtesy of Roy-Hart Central School: (Left) Hailey Pasnik and Abigail Glyshaw played in the Senior High Area All-State Orchestra. (Right) Reed Hughes, Addyson Kiner-Ronson and Benjamin Hickman were part of the Junior High Area All-State Orchestra.
Posted 29 November 2023 at 9:20 am
Press Release, Roy-Hart Central School
MIDDDLEPORT – Five students from the Royalton-Hartland Orchestra Program participated in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Area All-State Honors Festivals over the month of November.
These students auditioned in the Spring of 2023 and were selected among string students from Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties to participate in the festivals.
Three Roy-Hart students – Benjamin Hickman, Reed Hughes and Addyson Kiner-Ronson – were selected for the NYSSMA Junior High Area All-State Orchestra which was held on Nov. 3-4 at Akron Central School.
Two students from Roy-Hart – Abigail Glyshaw and Hailey Pasnik –were selected for the NYSSMA Senior High Area All-State Orchestra on November 17-18 at SUNY Fredonia.
Congratulations to these students who worked very hard to be selected for their respective Honors Ensembles!
Farmers could be forced to use older, more toxic pesticides to control pests
Press Release, New York Farm Bureau
ALBANY — Harvest season has wrapped in what has been a challenging year for New York’s farmers, including a wet growing season and increased pest and disease pressures.
Farmers need safe and effective risk management tools at their disposal to grow food needed to feed a growing population. This is why New York Farm Bureau is asking Gov. Hochul to veto the so-called “Birds and Bees Protection Act” (S1856-A/A7460) that would ban an entire class of pesticides and treated seeds known as neonicotinoids.
The bill is deeply concerning, especially because of the precedent it sets. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and its scientific expertise should maintain the authority to properly review and register risk management tools, something the legislature is attempting to strip away. This is the same justification cited by Gov. Hochul in her veto message earlier this month of S5957/A5949, that would have allowed local governments to ban the use of certain pesticides in freshwater wetlands.
Seeds treated with neonicotinoids were designed to be safer and reduce pesticide use. In many cases, it uses 99 percent less of a chemical versus traditional broadcast spraying. While New York Farm Bureau shares the same goal as supporters of the legislation, to always look for ways to reduce our environmental footprint, we believe the result of this ban will force farms to revert to spraying greater amounts of older, more toxic pesticides as well as increasing tillage to combat harmful pests. This would release more carbon from the soil and increase the likelihood of soil erosion, creating additional environmental and climate issues for the state, moving us backward.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 November 2023 at 7:02 pm
Photos courtesy of Medina Fire Department
MEDINA – Jeffrey Tuohey smiles today with a cake on his last shift at work after 22 years with the Medina Fire Department.
Tuohey will retire next week as a firefighter and paramedic with the Medina FD. Fire Chief Matt Jackson praised Tuohey for his dedication to the department and community. He never called in sick during his career, Jackson said.
Pictured from left include Medina firefighter Adam Fisher, firefighter Jeff Tuohey, Fire Chief Matt Jackson and Captain Jonathan Higgins.
Fisher holds the red line plaque that was given to Tuohey as a gift from the Medina Firefighters IAFF Local 2161. Jackson and Higgins hold the axe plaque which is a gift from the Medina Firefighters Benevolent Association.
The Fire Department also announces two new full-time additions: Tiffany Petry and Stephen Baxter.
Petry is a local resident and volunteer with the Shelby Fire Company as a firefighter and EMT. She is the first woman career firefighter for the Village of Medina.
She starts on Dec. 11 and will work with the first platoon.
Baxter is a seasoned paramedic with commercial EMS experience from both inside and outside of New York, Chief Jackson said.
Baxter starts Dec. 10 and will be assigned to the second platoon.
Petry and Baxter will both be attending an upcoming Recruit Class at the NYS Fire Academy.
Chart from Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments
Press Release, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments
The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) are alerting residents to rising cases of syphilis and congenital syphilis.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is most often spread through sexual contact. Congenital syphilis is a preventable disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to the baby during pregnancy.
In 2020, there were 12.1 confirmed cases of syphilis per 100,000 population and to date in 2023, there have been 33.3 cases per 100,000 population, which include confirmed cases and probable cases pending investigation. With a rise in cases, particularly among women, GO Health has also seen a rise in congenital syphilis cases.
Syphilis and congenital syphilis can lead to serious health complications, but they are preventable with screening, early detection and treatment.
“Syphilis is caused by a bacteria that enters the body during oral, vaginal or anal sex,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for GO Health. “It can also enter through broken skin that is exposed to the syphilis bacteria. Newborns can get congenital syphilis before birth or during vaginal delivery if the mother has syphilis.”
Signs and symptoms of syphilis may or may not be noticeable. They may include a painless sore on the genitals, anus or mouth; a rash on the body; tiredness; fever; sore throat; headaches; swollen glands; loss of appetite; weight loss; patchy hair loss; muscle aches and fatigue.
Oftentimes the signs of syphilis go away and the person does not have it checked out. If not treated for syphilis, an infected person even without symptoms can still infect others, including an unborn baby.
Having syphilis once does not protect you from getting it again, even after successful treatment. A person can get it many times, so that is why people and their partner(s) must get tested and successfully treated. If your sex partner(s) does not get tested or treated, you may get syphilis again. The longer the person waits to be treated, the more damage the disease causes to the body.
Syphilis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, neonatal death, blindness or deafness, bone abnormalities, skin lesions, developmental delays, and other serious health problems to a developing baby. The best way to protect babies from congenital syphilis is to get screened throughout the pregnancy and just prior to delivery.
Here are some ways to prevent the spread of syphilis:
Not having sex (abstinence) is the only sure way to avoid infection.
Limit sex partners, especially if pregnant.
Use latex or polyurethane condoms each time during oral, anal or vaginal sex.
If you or your partner have any sores on the genitalia, anus, or mouth, or unexplained rashes on the body, talk with your healthcare provider and get tested. Do not have sex until both partners are fully treated.
Get tested often for sexually transmitted infections/diseases.
If you are pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider about being tested to protect your baby.
If you know someone who is pregnant, encourage them to get tested.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 28 November 2023 at 12:54 pm
Photos contributed by Maarit Vaga: Maarit Vaga, secretary of the Cobblestone Society, took this snapshot of an old Swedish Christmas card. The words “God Jul” mean “Good Christmas.” Vaga will share traditions of a Scandinavian Christmas in a program titled, “Simply Christmas,” at the Cobblestone Museum on Saturday. (Right) This is Maarit Vaga’s daughter’s doll dressed as Saint Lucia, a Scandinavian Christmas tradition which will be celebrated Saturday at the Cobblestone Museum.
CHILDS – The Cobblestone Museum will present an inaugural special holiday event titled “Simply Christmas” at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Cobblestone Church at 14389 Ridge Rd. West.
The program will feature Maarit Vaga, an Albion resident of Scandinavian heritage. She will share her native Christmas traditions in the church, which will be adorned in period decorations.
Vaga explained, “On Dec. 13th, every school, church, care home and office across Sweden will have a visit from a ‘Luciatag’ procession of singers dressed in white gowns and carrying candles, led by Saint Lucia herself.”
Although this Swedish custom was established in the 19th century, the first recorded appearance of Saint Lucia dates back to 1764, Vaga said. A Christian feast day, it commemorates the martyr Lucia of Syracuse (in the Roman Republic), who, as legend has it, brought food to Christians hiding in Roman catacombs, lighting her way with a candlelit wreath on her head. Traditionally, the oldest daughter of the family assumes the role of Lucia, with the younger siblings making up the entourage, bringing a breakfast tray of coffee and fresh baked goods to the parents in bed.
Saturday’s program will include the Lucia procession, some readings, several musical performances and audience sing-along carols. The program will last about 45 minutes, after which a reception with Scandinavian treats will be served in the Proctor Room on the lower level of the church. A free will offering will be taken.
Also on the lower level is the Museum’s Holiday Gift Shoppe, which will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. According to Sue Bonafini, assistant director of the museum, “Hundreds of new or gently used Christmas theme books and miscellaneous items are available at incredibly low prices, such as artificial trees and wreaths, tree ornaments, paper goods, decorations, candles, mugs, indoor/outdoor lights, stockings and hangars and much more.”
Photo contributed by Sue Bonafini: The sanctuary of the Cobblestone Church is elegantly decorated for the holiday season and Saturday’s presentation of “Simply Christmas.”
Photo by Ginny Kropf: Ric Jones of Medina leads the Middleport Community Choir in rehearsal for a previous concert. Their annual Christmas show this year will be a cantata titled “The Wonder of Christmas,” at 4 p.m. Saturday at Middleport United Methodist Church.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 28 November 2023 at 11:02 am
Middleport planning several activities, including tree-lighting
MIDDLEPORT – The Middleport Community Choir’s annual Christmas concert this year will take place on Saturday in conjunction with the Village of Middleport’s “Light up Park Avenue.”
The choir, under the direction of Medina resident Ric Jones, will present a cantata this year titled “The Wonder of Christmas,” and will include the Bell Tones, directed by Debby Clark, who is also accompanist for the choir. The performance will start at 4 p.m. at the Middleport United Methodist Church.
The Middleport Community Choir has a long history of performing cantatas, Jones said.
“It has been a number of years since we prepared one for the holiday season, so this felt like the right time to perform one,” Jones said. “What I like about this cantata is that every single song is a recognizable Christmas song; each a unique arrangement, but never stepping away from the original tune.”
Included in the performance will be an audience sing-along.
“This concert is the perfect fit for the small-town ‘Hallmark Christmas’ atmosphere of the day,” Jones said.
The Middleport Community Choir members come from throughout the area, including Orleans and Niagara counties. Seven original members of the choir are still singing with them.
“We are blessed to add new members over the years while still being tied to the beginning of this wonderful group,” Jones said.
There is no charge for admission, but a free-will offering will be taken. Refreshments will follow in the Fellowship Hall.
Concert-goers are invited to come early or stay late and enjoy Middleport’s annual Christmas activities and tree lighting event. Festivities begin at 2:30 p.m. in the village park on Park Avenue (across from the church) and include holiday a visit with Santa, games and crafts, raffles, meet the Grinch and wagon rides. Activities in the Roy-Hart School gym include music by Roy-Hart students, games and crafts.
The tree lighting at 6 p.m. on Park Avenue will be followed by cookies and cocoa.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 November 2023 at 10:10 am
KENDALL – Students in prekindergarten through grade 6 are being sent home this morning due to an odor in the Kendall Elementary School.
The district’s buildings and grounds team noticed a faint odor from a specific area in the building this morning, said Nick Picardo, the district superintendent in a phone call to parents and community members.
The students and staff are currently in the junior-senior high school. The students will get on buses at 10:45 a.m. and then be taken home around 11, Picardo said.
Kendall has cancelled all activities today in the elementary school.
Picardo said a company will be at Kendall to help check the elementary school. The students are being sent home “out of an abundance of caution,” he said.
“The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority,” Picardo said.