Pandemic delayed infrastructure projects and there are historic low water levels in aquifer feeding Batavia treatment plant
Press Release, Genesee County government
BATAVIA – Genesee County officials continue to ask residents to conserve water, especially on hot dry days.
According to county officials, there are two driving factors behind the conservation efforts. The first is that the water infrastructure improvements the County planned to have in place by the summer of 2020 still have not been completed due to complications with the pandemic. Second, and more recently, the water level in the aquifer that feeds the City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant is approaching historic lows.
This chart shows how far below normal water levels are for this time of the year (-7 ft.). The orange/yellow line is 2021, the dashed line is the median (most common) and the lavender line is 2020. The deeper the water is below ground level, the more inefficient the well pumps are. The City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant provides nearly 50% of the County’s water needs.
The County stressed it has plenty of water 24/7/365 on average days, but without conservation efforts, producing enough water on hot, dry days will be challenging as groundwater levels will continue to drop through the summer. The County is again asking everyone to be smart with their water as summer progresses.
Please avoid watering lawns and washing cars. There is plenty of other ways to save water as well. Without water conservation measures in place, had events like Monday’s large barn fire in Le Roy occurred in the middle of a hot/dry stretch, there would have been major supply issues. There are plans in place for emergency water supply and pumping, but it is much easier if everyone works together to do a small part.Return to top
Press Release, Assemblyman Steve Hawley
Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) will host a series of town hall meetings in Monroe County in the villages of Churchville and Brockport and the town of Hamlin on June 26, during which he will also be addressing the concerns of locals from the towns of Riga, Sweden and Clarkson.
Residents are encouraged to attend to discuss local issues and share any questions or concerns they have with Hawley.
All applicable health and safety protocols will be followed during this event.
Town Hall meeting schedule for June 26:
• Village of Churchville/Town of Riga
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Churchville Village Hall
25 East Buffalo Street
• Village of Brockport/Town of Sweden
11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Brockport Village Hall-Front Porch
127 Main Street
• Town of Clarkson/Town of Hamlin
12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Hamlin Town Hall
1658 Lake Road
HamlinReturn to top
Press Release, Orleans Community Health Foundation
MEDINA – Orleans Community Health had a wonderful turn out last Friday for their 34th Annual Golf Tournament held at Shelridge Country Club in Medina. The event is planned and co-hosted by the OCH Foundation and staff from Orleans Community Health.
This year they had a goal of raising $18,000 to purchase equipment for the radiology department at Medina Memorial Hospital. With tremendous support from sponsors and the 112 golfers in attendance, they exceeded the goal and raised approximately $24,000!
The radiology equipment being purchased is a part of the larger annual fundraising campaign, “Together We Are Stronger”, that the OCH Foundation is running this year. Their overall goal is to raise $350,000 for eight different projects throughout all of the Orleans Community Health that will benefit registration, pharmacy, the lab, patient care, facilities, cardiology and radiology. The remaining funds raised at the tournament will roll over into the campaign and be used to fill any funding gaps that may exist in any one of these areas.
The scramble tournament began around 10 a.m. with brief announcements from Heather Smith, OCH Foundation Executive Director, and Marc Shurtz, OCH CEO and President. The pair emphasized how grateful they were for everyone attending and how much the community has supported them this past year. Throughout the day, participants could enter for a chance to win a putting contest, multiple 50/50 raffles, a $500 Cash Raffle, and gift baskets that were donated by staff from various departments at OCH and community organizations.
The tournament winners with a score of 60 were Dr. Monti, Gary McCarthy, Michael McCarthy and Don Skibnewski. Our mixed team winners were Mark Klentowski, Ryan Fisher and Bob Hermann with a score of 67. The Longest Drive winners were Jake Cooper and Elise Edward. And the Closest to the Pin winners were Janelle Cordle and John Cureo.
The OCH Foundation has two more events coming up this year, starting with the $10,000 Mega Drawing to be held on September 14th and then the “Treasure Island” Benefit Event on November 6th. Tickets for the Mega Drawing are on sale now and can be reserved by calling the foundation office at (585) 798-8426. More information on the OCH Foundation and this year’s campaign are online at www.supportoch.org.
Thank you to all of our sponsors, volunteers, board members, and staff at Shelridge for all of your support.Return to top
Privies could be conduits for spreading infectious diseases
By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian
Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 1, No. 12
The recent article on the collection of outhouses at the Cobblestone Museum prompted us to consider the matter further.
While farm outhouses had the advantage of space and could be relocated if necessary, conditions were more crowded in villages and cities. Municipal sanitation control was a significant issue as reflected in village ordinances.
Initially, the disposal of household wastes was the responsibility of the homeowner. Typically a nearby vacant lot or body of water would be used.
The earliest drains were installed primarily to accommodate rain storms and melting snow but also carried sewage. Odors were the main concern as the prevailing belief was that odors transmitted germs. The connection between contaminated water and diseases was not recognized until 1854 when John Snow, an English physician, carefully mapped cholera cases in London and narrowed the cause down to a contaminated well pump. In Buffalo, for example, outbreaks of typhoid and cholera persisted until discharges were routed south of the city’s water intakes.
Privies with vaults and leaching cesspools were an advancement, but they still had to be cleared periodically. The following references are to the Village of Medina, but the same patterns of development prevailed throughout the county.
The Board of Health Ordinance published the following in the Medina Tribune on July 2, 1874:
“No person shall have any privy upon any lot or premises within said corporation limits, without a vault under it at least four feet deep, and such vault shall be properly cleansed by using lime or other disinfecting substance therein.”
“No person shall be allowed to drain from any privy, vault, sink or cesspool in any street, alley or lane shall be properly secured by stone or other substantial covering.”
By 1893, these regulations were much stricter:
“No privy cesspool or reservoir into which any privy, stable or water-closets, sink or other receptacle of refuge or sewage is drained shall be constructed or maintained in any situation or in any manner whereby, through leakage or overflow of its contents, it may cause pollution of the soil near or about habitations, or of any well, spring or other source of water used for drinking or culinary purposes; nor shall the overflow from any such receptacle be permitted to discharge into any public place whereby danger to health may be caused.”
Furthermore, it was specified that receptacles of refuse or sewage were to be built of stone, the sides and bottom were to be tightly sealed with cement. A penalty of ten dollars a day ($267 currently, according to the Inflation Calculator) per day would be imposed for any violation.
The Board of Health was appointed annually by the Board of Trustees. According to the 1901 Charter and Ordinances of the Village of Medina, it was comprised of three members, with a “competent physician” as Health Officer. Practicing physicians were required to report any occurrences or pestilential or infectious diseases. The Board of Health had the power to publish ordinances. In addition, the Board had the power to regulate the height of water to be maintained in any race, stream, artificial water-course or feeder within the Village during the months of July, August and September and also to prescribe penalties for any violations of such.
The 1901 village Charter clearly outlined resident’s responsibilities with regard to
“Depositing putrid matter in the waterway” (five dollar fine for each offense),
“Throwing putrid matter upon sidewalk” (three dollar fine)
“Providing a convenient privy, at least three feet deep”
A comprehensive sewer system in the village was completed in 1893. Indoor plumbing was adopted gradually. There was some resistance to indoor plumbing at first, as the fear of sewer gases persisted, but plumbing improvements eliminated that problem. By 1908 the rates for household water charges included water-closets:
• Private house, 5 rooms: $5
• Each two additional rooms: .50c
• Bath tub in house: $2
• Water closet with house use: $4
• (Meter rates 50c per M gallons)
But, while domestic sanitation improved, the overall disposal system remained problematic as most municipal systems continued to discharge into local waterways for many years. The development of primary and secondary wastewater treatment plants took some time.
Return to the “Good Old Days”? No thanks!Return to top
HOLLEY — The school district on Monday will dedicate the Holley Jr./Sr. High School Library in memory of John Heise, who dedicated 40 years to serving the district as a school administrator and then as a volunteer on the Board of Education..
The district is planning a 5:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 21 to dedicate the John P. Heise Memorial Library. This will be by invitation only.
Heise, 73, passed away on December 23, 2020. He started working at Holley in 1981 as the elementary school principal. He was later the high school principal and then director of special programs, overseeing special education. About a year after he retired, he joined the Board of Education.
In addition to serving on the Holley BOE, Heise was president of the Holley Rotary Club and a former district governor for Rotary. He also was previously a member of the Holley Village Board and a trustee for the Community Free Library.
He attended numerous school and community events, and loved to chaperone foreign exchange students on excursions to Niagara Falls and other sites in the region.
Heise was active on social media, often bragging about Holley students, especially with their community service projects.
“John was a consistent champion for the students of Holley,” Brian Bartalo, district superintendent, said after Heise’s death. “He was a fixture at all school events from concerts and plays to athletic events and award ceremonies. Through John’s work with the Holley Rotary, he helped many students over the years with scholarships and assistance with whatever was needed, many times, right out of his own pocket.
“Mr. Heise always wanted the best for the district. He loved and worked on many committees to improve the school system. He also was also Holley’s representative on the Monroe2-Orleans BOCES Board of Education, where he served for well over a decade. John’s generosity and dedication to the students of Holley left a legacy that will never be forgotten.”Return to top
MEDINA – The Medina Lions Club held its year-end celebration June 8 at White Birth Golf Course in Lyndonville. The dinner recognized and thanked outgoing officers and board members who led the club through a very successful year, despite the many challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, said Lion Don Colquhoun.
Among those honored were outgoing president Billy Roman who was presented with the prestigious Robert J. Uplinger Award for dedicated service to the community. Roman also received several club recognition awards.
Lion Dean Bellack was honored by the Lions Club International Foundation with the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, the highest recognition a Lion can receive. Bellack has more than 15 years of service to his community.
The Lions’ region and zone chair Peter Kaiser inducted two new club members, John Oakes and Cindy Winters. He also inducted the club officers and board members for 2021-22. They included incoming president Tim Moriarty; vice presidents Jim Punch, Tom Robinson and James Gardner; treasurer, Ken Dunham; and secretary, Carol Bellack.
The evening concluded with a discussion of planned club activities for the next year, including the eighth annual Community Garage Sale, the fall Scarecrow Fest and all the other regular club community activities and events.Return to top
Jacob Velesko touts Medina Waterfalls as ‘historical gem’
MEDINA – A scholarship from the Medina Sandstone Society will go a long way toward books and slides for college, recipient Jacob Velesko said Wednesday prior to receiving a $1,000 check from the Sandstone Society’s John Ryan Scholarship Fund.
“I’m happy and honored to be chosen,” Jacob said.
Jacob and his parents, Jerry and Rose Ann Velesko of Middleport, were invited to the Sandstone Hall of Fame in Medina’s city hall on Wednesday afternoon to meet with members of the Sandstone Society and two Medina High School history teachers, Todd Bensley and Margaret Martin.
Jacob, who plans to attend the University of Buffalo to study mechanical engineering, won the scholarship by writing an essay on the topic, “Tell us About Your Favorite Medina Historical Gem.”
Jacob’s choice was what he called the “Mighty Medina Falls.”
His mother said Jacob first saw the Medina Falls, located on the north side of the canal off Horan Road, when she took him on an Alzheimer’s walk when he was 7 or 8.
“The path by the falls was part of the walk, and Jacob never forgot it,” Rose Ann said.
He said he chose to write about the falls because it is something which makes Medina unique.
“Look how they promote Niagara Falls,” Jacob said. “We kind of have our own Niagara Falls right here. It’s a pretty unique site for a small town.”
Sandstone Society member Jim Hancock welcomed guests who gathered in the Sandstone Hall of Fame. He explained the Hall of Fame was started in 2013 to showcase all the beautiful sandstone buildings throughout Western New York, the state of New York and even Canada and England.
“Sandstone has been here millions and millions of years, but it was just discovered when they dug the Erie Canal,” Hancock said.
Every year since 2013, a committee traveled to visit historic sandstone buildings and a handful were inducted into the Hall of Fame, every year but last year.
“We will be having an induction ceremony this year,” Hancock said. “Some of these buildings are more than a hundred years old.”
Members of the John Ryan Scholarship committee are Rob Klino, Craig Tuohey and Mary Zangerle.
Margaret Martin, Jacob’s history teacher, said he was an excellent student.
“He is very deserving of this scholarship,” she said.Return to top
ALBION – The Village of Albion will officially celebrate the new improvements at Bullard Park on Saturday. There will be a ribbon-cutting at 6 p.m. with an open mic concert to follow at the amphitheater.
That stage and performing venue is part of a major upgrade at the park, which also includes a new splash pad and a utility building with bathrooms.
The spray park opened last week on June 8 and has been a big attraction.
“I’m so happy,” said Ron Albertson, a member of the Rock the Park Committee that helped raise money for Bullard and organizes an annual music festival.
He stood on the stage recently at the amphitheater and was impressed.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” Albertson said. “It’s better than I imagined.”
The Rock the Park Committee started about 8 years ago, initially with a focus to replace some aging playground equipment. The playgrounds were improved, but the committee had its sights on turning the park into a destination with the splash pad and amphitheater.
The latest project is part of about $800,000 in upgrades to Bullard, Albion’s most popular park on Route 31.
The village in December 2016 was awarded a $499,605 state grant for the Bullard projects. The village also received $97,500 from the county and $45,000 from the town of Albion, money that was through a revolving-loan fund by the Orleans Economic Development Agency.
The Albion DPW committed to $166,370 of in-kind services as part of Albion’s local share for the state grant. The DPW took down a pavilion and storage building in 2019 to make way for the new utility building. The DPW also ran a new sewer line across Route 31 near the Bullard entrance. That sewer line will service the park.
The DPW also ran 600 feet of waterline for the splash pad and utility building, several feet of sewer line, and did the electric service for the amphitheater.
“We worked hard on this for eight years,” Albertson said. “Now look at what we got.”
The public and musicians are welcome to the open mic evening. The band Zero will perform first and will remain the house band throughout the evening. However, other bands and performers are expected to have a turn. The music is expected to go until 9 p.m., but could go longer if there is a lineup of musicians.
“I’m excited and this has obviously been a long time coming,” said Zack Burgess, a member of the band Zero, a village trustee and Rock the Park member. “It’s exciting to have something like this in our hometown.”
The open mic will be a chance for many musicians to play on the stage in its debut, rather than one band.
“Being a community effort to make this happen we wanted to open it up to the community,” Burgess said.Return to top
Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) delivered a floor speech this afternoon in support of his legislation, the Help Wanted Act, and to raise concerns about the problems being caused by labor shortages nationwide.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I rise today in support of my legislation the Help Wanted Act, which would reinstate work search requirements for unemployment benefits and end disincentives for work.
“We have now gotten two jobs reports that fell far short of projections.
“Meanwhile, it was reported there was a record 9.3 million job openings.
“In my home of Western New York, there are reports that restaurants are turning customers away, when they need them most, because they are short staffed.
“In February, the Congressional Budget Office published a report stating our economy would return to pre-pandemic strength without additional government spending.
“Yet, the President and Democrats forced through a highly partisan and unrelated $2 trillion package.
“The result is it has now become more lucrative to stay home than seek employment – to the detriment of our economic recovery.
“Vaccines are rolling out, the CDC has updated their guidance, and positivity rates are dropping.
“It’s time to get back to work.”
Jacobs introduced the Help Wanted Act in May to address growing labor shortages in the United States in part from the enhanced unemployment benefits included in the last Covid-19 relief package.
Recently, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that 48% of small businesses surveyed were unable to fill open positions. Jacobs’ legislation currently has cosponsors from nine other states facing similar problems.Return to top
Lyndonville announces plans today to move ceremony inside at auditorium on June 24
Four of the five school districts in Orleans County are planning to have graduation outside.
In the pre-Covid era, Holley was the only district in the county that typically would have graduation outdoors. The district for many years had graduation at the soccer stadium before shifting to Hawk Stadium, the football and track facility that is a close walk from the middle-high school.
Other districts in the county – Albion, Kendall and Medina – will be having their ceremonies outdoors. Lyndonville was planning an outdoor ceremony but today announced it would have commencement inside at the school auditorium like it did in pre-Covid years.
LYNDONVILLE – The district moved the service inside after Gov. Andrew Cuomo eased some restrictions on Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to have a return of our time-honored graduation ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2021!” the district superintendent, Jason Smith, posted today on the school website and social media.
Lyndonville will be making a big change for this graduation. It will be held on a Thursday, instead of the fourth Friday in June. Lyndonville’s ceremony will be 7 p.m. on June 24.
Albion, Kendall and Medina are all planning 7 p.m. ceremonies on Friday, June 25. The graduation celebrations will be outdoors and the services could be pushed back a day if there is inclement weather.
ALBION – The district usually has graduation in the high school gymnasium. This year it will be at the football field.
Last year, when schools were limited to no more than 150 people at commencement, Albion opted to record each student receiving his or her diploma individually and then compiled a video.
This year the students will all be together for graduation. The crowd will sit on the football field, between the 20-yard lines, with the grads in the bleachers.
If it’s raining on June 25, Albion will move the ceremony to 2 p.m. on June 26. If it’s raining then, June 27 at 2 p.m. is the next option.
The graduates will walk from the community entrance at the back high school parking lot, up the driveway and enter the football stadium from the east gate facing the elementary school. Faculty will line up and create a tunnel for students to pass through. After the ceremony, the graduates can gather on the grassy area between the football stadium and high school parking lot. That differs from the past when the graduates and their families would congregate in front of the high school.
KENDALL – The district normally has graduation in the school auditorium. Last year it had a drive-in ceremony on the Kendall fire department grounds with most families watching from their vehicles.
This year the ceremony will be at the recently upgraded soccer field.
MEDINA – Commencement is usually in the auditorium but this year will be at Vets Park with the entire class together. Last year’s graduation was split into three services at Vets Park to try to stay under the 150-person cap. That included three groups of about 37 grads and they were each allowed three tickets for family.
Next Friday, June 25, the entire class will graduate at the same time. (In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to noon on Saturday, June 26.)
HOLLEY – The district last year had graduation in the high school parking lot. That way the school could stay under the 150-person cap because each vehicle counted as one person as long as the people in the vehicle stayed together.
The district won’t have to worry about that this year. Graduation is back at Hawk Stadium and each grad will be given 7 tickets for friends and family to attend the ceremony at 10 a.m. on June 26. (If inclement weather forces Holley to be in the auditorium, only 4 red tickets can be used per graduate.)
“This has been one crazy year, but we made it and we are finishing the year for the Class of 2021 as traditionally as possible,” the district posted on its website.Return to top
Photos by Tom Rivers
LYNDONVILLE – Four school districts in Orleans County recognized the Top 10 graduates at a banquet on Tuesday evening at the White Birch Golf Course. This is the 35th annual Academic Excellence Awards celebration in the county.
The top photo shows five of Medina’s top graduates, including from left: Carina Kingsbury, Hannah Kenward, Carter Green, Alwyn Cayea and Brooklyn Brown.
Each of the Top 10 students received a medallion and certificate for their academic achievements. These medallions were presented to the Medina students.
Last year’s Top 10 banquet was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The banquet recognized the top students at Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina school districts. Albion does a separate honors convocation where students with a cumulative GPA of 90 percent or higher are recognized.
This year’s banquet for the Top 10 was scaled down with no keynote address or presentations from state legislators and other dignitaries. Organizers were trying to keep attendance below 150 to avoid proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test.
The Top 10 graduates at the four districts include:
- Holley: Karl Biedlingmaier, Amya-Omar Cancino, Kasey DeFrank, Andrew Drechsel, Brandi Heffernan, Erin Kelly, Allyson Skehan, Hayley Skidmore, Annalise Tinkous and Callie Updike.
- Kendall: Grace Allen, Willow Clark, Kylie Davenport, Jacob Esposito, Madison Jacob, MacKenzie Jenks, Ethan Kuhn, Lauren Miller, Joseph Nettles, Karlee Robb and Brianna Wakefield.
- Lyndonville: Alexander Barry, Olivia Braley, Nathan Dillenbeck, Lynlee Hong, Dylan Jisa, Erin Kiefer, Emma Maynard, Zayda Moyle, Cameron Paniccia and Sydney Wilson.
- Medina: Suvi Biesinger, Brooklyn Brown, Alwyn Cayea, Carter Green, Hannah Kenward, Carina Kingsbury, Emma Roush, Evie Schultz, Sydney Watts, Amanda Woodruff and FaithAnn Vanderwalker.
These students from left include: Brianna Wakefield, Karlee Robb, Joseph Nettles, Lauren Miller, Ethan Kuhn, MacKenzie Jenks and Madison Jacob.
Grace Allen is presented her medallion by Julie Christensen, the district superintendent at Kendall.
Lyndonville’s Top 10 are recognized at the banquet at the White Birch Golf Course.
Nate Dillenbeck, Lyndonville’s valedictorian, accepts his medallion and certificate for his academic excellence.
Amya-Omar Cancino of Holley is congratulated by Brian Bartalo, Holley’s district superintendent.Return to top
MEDINA – Scouts from Pack and Troop 28 at the United Methodist Church and Pack and Troop 35 from St. Mary’s Church met with veterans from the Butts-Clark American Legion Post at the Conservation Club on Bates Road to conduct their annual flag burning ceremony.
The Scouts and veterans have been celebrating Flag Day for 27 years by properly disposing of American flags which are no longer serviceable, said Frank Berger, a veteran and former Scout executive.
Scoutmaster Tim Miller explained the ceremonial burning.
“These served as a reminder of our nation and those who served us well,” he said.
In the past, flag burning ceremonies were also conducted at the Scout cabin on School No. 10 road, but the area did not have accessible parking, so it was decided not to have it there this year, said Frank Berger, a veteran and former Boy Scout executive with the Iroquois Trail Council.
Used flags are collected throughout the year at various locations in the Medina area, including the American Legion. Then they are brought to the annual flag burning ceremony, which begins with a reading on the proper disposal of the flag. Burning is the only proper way to dispose of an American flag which is no longer suitable to be flown.Return to top
HOLLEY – A man has been charged with attempted murder in the first degree after he allegedly lunged at a Holley police officer, attempting to stab him.
A Holley police officer was dispatched to the Holley waterfalls on Frisbee Terrace at 6:11 p.m. on Tuesday for report of a suspicious male walking around with a knife antagonizing people, said Robert Barton, Holley’s police chief.
Upon arrival, the officer approached David J. Simoni, 32, who was sitting on a park bench who did not respond to any of the officer’s questions. The officer then spoke with other individuals in the park to investigate the incident, Barton said.
When the officer returned to Simoni, who was still sitting on the bench, a physical altercation ensued as Simoni lunged at the officer, Barton said. During the altercation, the man attempted to stab the officer with a knife, Barton said.
With the assistance of nearby citizens, the officer was able to disarm Simoni and then the officer utilized his taser to cause the male to disengage. The male was taken into custody without further incident.
Simoni has been charged with attempted murder 1st degree, criminal obstruction breathing, attempted aggravated assault, menacing, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a weapon. He was transported to the Orleans County Jail.Return to top