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Month: June 2013

Ingersoll Fountain remains a showpiece at Mount Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – The Ingersoll Memorial Fountain is still going strong in Mount Albion 99 years after it was dedicated in the historic cemetery. The sandstone chapel is in the background.

ALBION – I’m glad they didn’t do it on the cheap nearly 100 years ago. The Ingersoll Memorial Fountain in Mount Albion is the Cadillac of fountains.

It has endured for nearly a century. It’s visible from Route 31 and is one of the three most iconic structures in the cemetery, with the front sandstone arch and the Civil War Memorial – Mount Albion Tower – also enduring landmarks.

I don’t know the full story behind the Ingersoll family. Nehemiah Ingersoll was an early prominent resident in Albion. There were only a few settlers in 1812, but when it was announced the canal would pass through here, entrepreneurs started to buy up land.

Photo by Tom Rivers

Ingersoll purchased much of the land near the planned intersection of the canal and Oak Orchard Road, the main north-south route through the area in 1822, according to a Wikipedia entry about Albion. Ingersoll’s land was soon subdivided, and the village, then known as Newport, began to grow.

I’d like to see Albion put up another fountain, and not just the cheapest one on the market. An Ingersoll-type fountain on the bank of the canal would be an attraction and would give our canal bank and downtown a big lift, while also drawing some customers for the downtown businesses.

I think the fountain should be built in honor of the 15 people who died in a Sept. 28, 1859 bridge collapse. I wrote about that part of our history about a week ago. You can read about it by clicking here.

Those 15 people died while watching a wire walker. I think Nik Wallenda could be talked into doing an event in Albion, to help the community dedicate a fountain in their memory.

4 generations take flight in Kent 

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Chet Wheelock, 82, fulfills a life-long dream with balloon ride

Photos by Tom Rivers – Jeremy Mikels waves to his friends and family as the balloon takes off over his grandfather’s farm on Kent Road.

The balloon heads out over the countryside after a take off from Chet Wheelock’s farm on Kent Road.

The family smiles for a photo before takeoff. The group includes Mason Mikels, 5; his father Jeremy Mikels, Peggy Bropst, and Chet Wheelock, right. Balloon pilot Greg Livadas readies the balloon for take off.

KENT – Chet Wheelock got his wish tonight when he was lifted high over his farm and the rural countryside in a hot air balloon.

Wheelock, 82, was part of a four-generation ride that included his daughter Peggy Bropst of Kendall, grandson Jeremy Mikels of Webster and great-grandson Mason Mikels of Webster.

The balloon ride was intended to be a Father’s Day gift but bad weather grounded that flight. Tonight it was gorgeous with bright sunshine and little wind.

Greg Livadas, pilot of the “Yeowza” balloon, has been flying balloons for 35 years. He said a four-generation flight is highly unusual. But Wheelock is far from the oldest passenger. Livadas said he took up a 98-year-old recently.

Wheelock has watched balloons take off at the Pine Hill Airport in Barre, a balloon festival in Dansville and other spots in the Southern Tier.

“I always wanted to do it,” he said. “It seems like fun.”

Greg Livadas, center, and High Hopes Balloon Co. fill up the balloon with hot air.

The crew and passengers are almost ready to soar.

Mark Driesel, one of Chet Wheelock’s neighbors, records the events for what Driesel said was a historic day for the neighborhood.

Taking flight!

Trek will soon move to Lockport

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2013 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – A Medina manufacturer expects to move to Lockport from July 11-14, and begin operating from Building 4 in the former Harrison Radiator plant on July 15, Trek Inc. states on its web site.

Trek’s Medina building at 1601 Maple Ridge Rd. won’t be empty for long. Takeform Architectural Graphics is moving from Mahar Street to Route 31A as part of an expansion for that company.

Trek, an electronic instrument manufacturer, shifted its engineering, and research and development groups to Lockport in 2011.

Collins says he’ll back immigration and Farm Bill, but will fight ‘Obamacare’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – U.S. Rep. Chris Collins discusses legislation and the impact of Obamacare with residents during a “Coffee with Chris” event Saturday at The Village Inn.

GAINES – After six months in Congress, Chris Collins sees the role of conservative Republicans as playing defense in the nation’s capitol, trying to minimize the impact of what he said is a liberal agenda “in the nanny state,” a push to grow government programs and “hand-outs” at the expense of hard-working Americans.

“We’re trying to prevent additional laws like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank,” Collins said Saturday during a “Coffee with Chris” meeting at The Village Inn. The public event was attended by about 30 people, including many local elected officials.

Collins expects Obama will push hard to enact laws that would cut fossil fuels before his term is over. Climate change legislation would cripple the country’s economy, Collins said.

However, he said conservatives shouldn’t be extremists or obstructionists with every proposal. He is trying to take a pragmatic approach so Congress can pass much-needed legislation, including a Farm Bill that would offer a five-year plan for agriculture. The Farm Bill has been stymied over food stamps, which account for about $80 billion of the $100 billion Farm Bill.

Collins also favors immigration reform, but not the plan approved by the U.S. Senate on Thursday. That would allow a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who are in the country illegally. Collins said those people can have work permits if they are working in agriculture and other jobs that are difficult to fill with Americans.

But Collins wouldn’t give the people who are here illegally a pathway to citizenship, nor would they be eligible for any government benefits. However, he said he would support the possibility of citizenship for the children of people who came to the country illegally.

Collins said agriculture desperately needs access to foreign workers who can milk cows and harvest crops without the threat of deportation. Farmers can’t find enough Americans to do these jobs. Without legal workers from Mexico and other countries, the nation’s food supply and rural economy is very vulnerable, Collins said.

A group of many local elected officials turned out to hear Chris Collins discuss his first six months as congressman.

Orleans County Legislator Bill Eick, a former dairy farmer from Shelby, said local farmers have been traveling to Washington to lobby for immigration reform for 15 years. Farmers are starting to switch from labor-intensive crops to corn because of the lack of legal workers, Eick said.

“I hope you can get something done,” Eick told Collins about the immigration proposal.

Collins was harshly critical of Obama’s health care plan – “Obamacare is the worst law ever passed.” That legislation is starting to take effect and causing numerous problems, Collins said.

Healthy people are resisting the high-cost of health insurance, while businesses aren’t hiring or have cut hours to stay under thresholds for providing health insurance, he said. That has reduced job opportunities and take-home pay for residents.

“This law is beyond a wet blanket,” Collins said. “It’s destroying people’s lives.”

The congressman also blamed Albany politics for much of the New York state’s economic problems. The growing welfare state in New York has resulted in oppressive taxes, chasing away residents and businesses, he said.

“We are shrinking and shrinking every day, and dying,” he said about the state. “We should be a prosperous, growing area. We have great climate, a lot of water and an educated workforce. But Albany hurts us. Fix Alabany and you would see this state grow again.”

County’s costs for maintaining state boat launch not as high as reported

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2013 at 12:00 am

CARLTON – County officials say their costs for maintaining a state-owned boat launch and park are not as high as reported on The Orleans Hub on Friday.

The Hub put the costs at between $10,000 and $20,000 for bathroom cleaning, mowing and other upkeep at the Oak Orchard Marine State Park, a boat launch and bathrooms along Archibald Road on the west side of the Oak Orchard River.

I came up with that number because county officials said they pay $19,000 to have bathrooms and docks cleaned at the Orleans County Marine Park, a county-owned site on the east side of the river. The cleaning costs for the state site are part of that contract.

I figured it was a 50-50 split, but a county official said there is significantly more work at the county site, which includes 72 boat slips. He estimated the state boat launch and bathrooms cost the county about $3,000 a year.

I figured mowing and other expenses added to county costs as well, but I was told those expenses aren’t nearly as high as reported.

I stand by the crux of the article, that the state should assume financial responsibility for its own boat launch, especially because it’s a revenue generator for the state and the local economy because of the sales tax spent by the fishermen on gas and other supplies while they’re in the area.

Ridgeway celebrates upgraded town hall, and 200th birthday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – State Sen. George Maziarz, right, and Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli address a crowd today during the town’s bicentennial celebration and open house to a renovated town hall.

MEDINA – It may have a been a year late, but the town of Ridgeway celebrated its bicentennial today with speeches from politicians, awards of appreciation, reflections on the town’s history and food.

Ridgeway formed in 1812, and was named for “The Ridge,” a natural embankment that was an east-west route used by Native Americans and other travelers. Seymour Murdock was the town’s first settler in 1810, and constructed the first frame barn of heavy oak timber that still stands today, according to a proclamation about the town’s bicentennial.

The proclamation noted the town’s successful agricultural industry due to industrious farmers, excellent soils and moderate climate. Ridgeway has grown to 6,534 residents, and continues to draw people looking for opportunity, as evidenced by the influx of Amish and Mennonite families, according to the proclamation from the Orleans County Legislature.

The town postponed the bicentennial celebration until 2013, wanting to wait until about $50,000 of renovations were complete in the town hall on West Avenue, a building that hadn’t been improved much since it was built in 1979.

Horizon Builders in Ridgeway renovated the main meeting room, and put in new windows, carpets and doors. The building also received a fresh coat of paint on walls and the ceiling.

“This is the entryway of democracy, a town hall like this,” State Sen. George Maziarz said about the celebration. “A town hall like this is an investment in democracy.”

Town Supervisor Brian Napoli accepted a citation from the State Senate for the town’s 200th anniversary. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley also sent also congratulations and official commendation.

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins presented an official proclamation from Congress.

Napoli used the occasion to publicly praise Richard Nellist, the recently retired town historian who has agreed to help as a volunteer with historical efforts.

Don Marchner, the Ridgeway fire chief, also accepted a citation from Napoli and Collins for the Ridgeway Fire Company’s distinction of leading the county in EMS training hours with 994.

“That shows the dedication of everyone in the department,” Napoli said. “We’re really indebted to them.”

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson also noted that Mary Woodruff, a town councilwoman, is the first woman to serve on the Town Board in Ridgeway’s history. She also was instrumental in organizing the bicentennial party.

Napoli also was praised by County Legislature Chairman David Callard, a former Ridgeway town supervisor. Callard said Napoli has worked steadily to expand public water lines and improve water quality throughout the town.

“He’s done a great job,” Callard said.

Adding color to a cemetery

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Larry Radzinski this checks on geraniums he planted earlier this month at the Sacred Heart Cemetery on Route 63 in Medina. Radzinski was back at the cemetery today, sprinkling fertilizer on the flowers.

Sacred Heart is next to Boxwood Cemetery in Medina, giving the community two well-maintained historic burial grounds.

Dignitaries help Ridgeway mark 200th

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, hands a proclamation to Town Supervisor Brian Napoli today in honor of the town’s bicentennial. Resident Hugh James, back left, was one of about 50 people to crowd into the town hall for the presentations.

Ridgeway Town Supervisor Brian Napoli, left, congratulates Don Marchner, Ridgeway fire chief, for the Fire Company’s award in leading the county in EMS training hours with 994.

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson, right, reads a proclamation in honor of Ridgeway’s 200th anniversary. Johnson is joined by Mary Woodruff, a town councilwoman who last November became the first woman elected to the Ridgeway Town Board. Woodruff is joined by her grandchildren, Amanda and Brennan Woodruff.

Orleans Hub will have more on Ridgeway’s bicentennial later.

Several projects approved by Orleans County Planning Board

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Travel agency, sheet metal fabrication, storage units, farm labor camps all OK’d

ALBION – Several business projects have the backing of the Orleans County Planning Board for wide-ranging initiatives throughout the county.

The following projects were approved Thursday at the Planning Board meeting:

Matthew Pask wants to operate a travel agency out of his home at 12236 Maple Ridge Rd., in Shelby. Pask said he will use about 400 square feet of his house for the business, Next Adventure Travel Agency. He plans to have office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Charles Breuilly of Albion is working to build four rental storage buildings at the southwest corner of Allen Road and Route 98 in Albion. Planners recommended the village of Albion Zoning Board of Appeals approve variances for setbacks to allow the project.

Rick Stacey, owner of RS Automation on Route 98 in Albion, is working to expand the business at 4015 Oak Orchard Rd. He intends to build a 56-by-64-foot accessory/storage structure for raw materials that RS Automation will use for its custom metal projects.

The company also is planning a 50-by-75-foot addition to its existing building to increase its production capabilities.

Aaron Albone of 1273 Marshall Rd., Lyndonville, plans to sell steel from his home, which is in a rural/agricultural district.

Leonard Auker is planning a sheet metal fabrication business in Carlton at 12667 Roosevelt Highway. Shoreline Sheetmetal will operate on Tuesdays through Saturdays in a detached 24-by-32-foot barn.

Kast Farms wants to add four manufactured housing units, with a capacity of eight people in each building, at 2824 Densmore Rd. The housing in the town of Gaines will be used for farm workers.

Oded Kalir of Brockport also is working to add farmworker housing in Gaines at 13105  Eagle Harbor-Knowlesville Rd. Kalir wants to convert an existing single-family house into farmworker housing. The house currently isn’t in an agricultural district but Kalir has applied to have it added to County Agricultural District No. 3.

Soggy weather for soccer

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

Albion U-15 girls soccer players find a little shelter from the rain during tonight’s game against Holley. Albion won in a downpour. Orleans County is on a flood watch after today’s heavy rain. (Wes and Betsy Miller, parents of player Alyce Miller, won kudos from the Albion team for providing the giant umbrella.)