Find us on Facebook

Month: July 2013

Murray canal bridge will close for 2 days

Posted 31 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Press release, NYS DOT

MURRAY – The state Department of Transportation is closing the Groth Road canal bridge on Thursday and Friday so crews can replace deteriorated steel elements underneath the structure.

The work follows a recent bridge inspection that revealed a need for the unplanned repair work.

A detour will not be posted. Drivers can cross the Erie Canal on Telegraph or Hulberton roads.

Lamonts rescued a cast-iron hitching post

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Albion and Gaines area in particular has many historic sandstone hitching posts. The Lamonts on Densmore Road have a cast-iron one by their driveway on Densmore Road in Gaines.

Roger and Ingrid Lamont pose for a photo with two of their grandsons, Alex, left, and Aaron.

ALBION – Roger Lamont saw it in a barn, part of a collection of old relics that had been abandoned.

He knew it should be displayed, returned to the landscape.

A decade ago he put a cast-iron hitching post by his driveway at his old farmhouse on Densmore Road.

“I keep everything that is old,” he said.

I’ve developed a hitching post and carriage step obsession. I was at Lamont’s house last evening for a story about two new apple varieties. I noticed the hitching post. It’s unusual around here. Most of them are made of sandstone.

The cast-iron one dates back more than a century. Lamont said it was owned by a farmer down the road. The old hitching post was left with a farm acquired by the Lamont family.

When Roger and his wife Ingrid moved in his parents’ home in 2002, Roger decided the hitching post would be a nice touch by the house.

For several years the couple operated a bed and breakfast at the site. Ingrid hung a welcome flag from the hitching post. She planted flowers around it.

The house is 100 years old this year. It includes a sandstone foundation and sandstone base for the pillars on the porch.

If you have a hitching post or carriage step story to share, send me an email at

Golf tourney raises $36K for hospital

Posted 31 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Provided photos – The mixed winning team includes Matt Bush, Dave Cook, Cindy Perry and Pete Jones.

Press release, Orleans Community Health Foundation

HOLLEY – A hundred golfers played 18 rounds on a hot July 19 and raised $36,000 for the Orleans Community Health Foundation’s 27th annual golf tournament.

The tournament was postponed from its original date of June 14, due  to extreme rain and flooding.

The $36,000 will go towards finishing up Phase 2 of the renovations in the Residential Long Term Care Facility, known as the “North Wing” at Medina Memorial Hospital. This is a 30-bed nursing care facility in the hospital located on the first floor.

The renovations to date have remodeled each of the 30 resident rooms from top to bottom. Residents are enjoying new cabinetry, windows, ceilings and flooring.

The hospital is working to finish a solarium and sun porch for the residents to use, along with new furniture in the dining area and a nurses’ station.

The winning men’s team includes Wayne Barry, Paul Burgess, Gary Hill and Dan Krisher.

New apples will be named on Thursday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Growers expect a premium price from new varieties

Photos by Tom Rivers – Roger Lamont, an apple grower and leader of NYAG LLC, holds an apple known as NY 2. The name for the new variety will be announced on Thursday in Geneva at the Agricultural Experiment Station.

ALBION – For about a decade, Roger Lamont has referred to them as NY 1’s and NY 2’s. But on Thursday, he will bury those names forever.

Two new varieties that Lamont has helped nurture from near infancy will be named. Each will have its own logo. Cornell University will make the announcement with a group of growers led by Lamont, who has been farming in Albion for a half century.

The announcement will be made in Geneva at the Agriculture Experiment Station. Lamont said the varieties are important to the future of the state’s $300 million apple industry. Orleans County is the state’s second-leading apple producer behind Wayne County.

New York is the second-ranked apple state in the country, trailing Washington, which is by far the dominant apple producer. Washington grows about 130 million bushels of apples a year, compared to 30 million in NY.

Washington’s output has NY growers looking for an edge in the marketplace.

Roger Lamont believes the new varieties, and more to be developed in the future, are critical for New York’s apple industry.

“We worry about being competitive with Washington because they grow five times what we do,” Lamont said. “These new varieties will be unique to New York.”

Lamont has served as chairman of New York Apple Growers LLC, an organization with about 140 members. They all paid for trees of the new varieties, and NYAG has developed a growing and marketing plan to ensure the new apples hit the marketplace in a coordinated way to ensure enough supply for consumers while growers can still make a good profit.

The new varieties are grown on 930 acres in apple-growing regions throughout the state. When the first mature crop hits the market in 2015 there will be about 930,000 bushels of the two varieties combined.

The trees are still young and aren’t yet producing a full crop. But there will be enough to introduce the varieties to the public through farm markets this year.

The New York Apple Growers are working with Cornell’s apple breeding company to make the new varieties exclusive to NY growers. Cornell will receive royalties from tree and fruit sales, and those funds will support the breeding program, helping to fund a pipeline of more new varieties in the future.

New York 1, whose parents are Honeycrisp and a selection called NY 752, has Honeycrisp’s juiciness but will be easier to grow for fruit farmers.

These will be the first “managed varieties” in NY. Cornell used to develop apples, and they were introduced in a haphazard manner. Growers didn’t work together on planning acreage or developing a marketing initiative for the varieties. That often meant new varieties were slow to catch on with the public. If a new apple proved to be a star, growers might then overproduce the variety, driving down the price.

The new varieties offer the prospect of a premium price. Lamont said growers have been looking for successors to the very popular Honeycrisp variety, which continues to command a high price despite a huge increase in production.

Consumers typically pay $50 to $60 a bushel for Honeycrisp, a very profitable price for growers. Many other varieties barely break even. The two new varieties will be priced at Honeycrisp levels.

Lamont believes both new varieties will be popular with consumers for the taste, and they will also be easier to grow than the finicky Honeycrisp.

Lamont has nurtured two apple varieties for about a decade, giving up land in his orchard to test how well they grow.

Both new apples will be red, although NY 1 will be a bi-color apple and not as red as NY 2.

New York II is a cross between Braeburn with Autumn Crisp. The new apple will be 95 percent red.

New York 1 is a cross between Honeycrisp and NY 752. The new spicy-sweet flavored apple has Honeycrisp’s juiciness and firmness, but doesn’t have that apple’s production problems. Honeycrisp can be vulnerable to seasonal pathogens that cause defects and the apple is tricky to store over winter.

New York 2 was developed by crossing Braeburn with Autumn Crisp. It has a sweet and tart flavor.

“It will be a shiny red apple,” Lamont said. “I call it a ruby red.”

He expects they will be a hit with consumers.

“We’re rolling them out as fast as possible,” he said. “If the marketplace demands it, we can always plant more.”

Fruit crop rebounds after 2012 freeze

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Roger Lamont is pleased with the progress of these Honeycrisp apples and others at his fruit farm on Densmore Road in Albion. Lamont and many other growers had a small crop to pick last year.

Last year Orleans County’s leading crop was decimated by a series of spring freezes that killed blossoms on fruit trees.

There were far fewer apples in the fall. Statewide the apple crop totaled 720 million pounds last year compared to 1.22 billion in 2011. The diminished number meant fewer jobs picking fruit, sorting and packing apples in packing houses, and transporting them on delivery trucks.

This year should be a different story. Farmers say they have been blessed with ample rain and lots of sunshine. They should see a full crop that is high in flavor, said Debbie Breth, a fruit specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension. She is based out of the CCE’s office in Knowlesville.

“The quality will definitely be good,” Breth said today. “We’ve had plentiful moisture and the sunshine makes sugar.”

Last year the apple crop was down 41 percent in a $300 million annual industry in New York.

This year’s prolonged cool spring actually has been good for the apple crop, allowing for an extended pollination.

Breth said farmers have had to contend with more pests this year because many farms cut back on the use of sprays last year when they lost their crop. Some of the pests and insects wintered in the orchards and have required more effort to combat this year, she said.

But she is pleased overall with how the trees have rebounded after last year. The crop also is benefitting from a bigger output from many recently planted high-density orchards, she said.

Spotlight dancers attend convention in Boston

Posted 31 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – The Spotlight dancers, pictured in Boston, include, from left, front row: Aubrey Boyer, McKenna Boyer, Zoe Chatfield, Faith Chaffee and Baillie Oberther. Back row: Thomas Green, Katlin Pieniazsek, Hannah Yocum, Angela Carloni and Serina Blair.

Press release
Spotlight Studio

ALBION – Students in the Spotlight Dance Company attended a dance convention in Boston earlier this month. The dancers were joined by director Rachael Blair.

The Spotlight students were instructed by professional dancers in several dance styles. These professionals instruct, choreograph and dance with famous artists in movies, concerts, on Broadway and on television.

The dance company will never forget this amazing experience. They would like to thank the community for supporting the fundraisers to make this possible.

“We wanted to give the kids the opportunity to learn from instructors that dance for a living in New York City and Hollywood,” Blair said. “They learn different styles of dance and work on technique for three days straight. It is an opportunity that these students will remember forever.”

Medina’s dissolution committee meets for first time Thursday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2013 at 12:00 am

MEDINA A committee that has been tasked to develop a plan for the village’s dissolution will meet for the first time at 1 p.m. Thursday. The session will be in the main meeting room at City Hall, 600 Main St.

Mayor Andrew Meier is a member of the committee. He is hopeful a plan can be developed and presented to the public by next spring. A dissolution of the village would need approval by village residents.

Medina received a $50,000 state grant to prepare the plan. The village on July 8 voted to hire a consultant and formed a committee to develop a plan for the orderly dissolution of the village. Don Colquhoun, former executive director of the Arc of Orleans, is leading the committee.

Other committee members include Cindy Robinson, a Main Street business owner and president of the Medina Business Association and the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce; Charlie Slack of Slack Insurance; Thurston Dale, a retired veterinarian; Meier; and Village Trustee Mark Irwin.

The group will work with the Center for Governmental Research to develop a plan to dissolve the village and fold those government services and assets into the towns of Shelby and Ridgeway.

CGR will be paid $55,555 for its work. The organization assisted Medina and towns of Ridgeway and Shelby with a consolidation study about two years ago. That project showed the costs of providing services could be reduced by $200,000 to $400,000 with consolidation of services, plus the state would likely give the communities $600,000 annually as incentive aid for reducing layers of government.

Meier would like to have a plan developed in the next six to nine months.  The Village Board could then accept the plan and schedule a referendum for village residents. Town residents outside the village don’t have a say at the polls on the village’s fate.

Meier believes dissolving the village and its layer of government will significantly reduce Median’s tax rate, making the community more desirable for residents and businesses. Medina has the highest combined tax rate – village, town, school and county – in the Finger Lakes region. That rate is about $54 per $1,000 of assessed property, with the village accounting for about $16 of that tax rate.

Thrice-sold sheep raises money for Hospice, 4-H program

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

Meat auction topped $20,000 for 4-H’ers

Photo by Tom Rivers – Mandy Armer raised this sheep, named Coal, and donated the proceeds to Hospice of Orleans County. The sheep was sold three times on Saturday, raising money for Hospice and the 4-H program.

KNOWLESVILLE – Mandy Armer, 18, of Barre spent more than two months feeding, cleaning and caring for a sheep.

Her payoff could have come at the end of the Orleans County 4-H Fair at the meat auction. But Armer chose instead to donate proceeds from the sale, $531.30, to Hospice of Orleans.

Mandy has lost relatives to cancer. The long-time 4-H’er wanted to support an organization in Orleans County that assists cancer patients and other terminally ill residents.

“I wanted to do something that would help and support something that is local,” she said.

Panek Farms in Albion paid $454.30 for the sheep. The farm then decided to donate the animal back so it could be resold again. Former 4-H’er Robert Bannister of Point Breeze, who served as auctioneer of the meat auction, then paid $1 a pound – another $77 donation to Hospice, making $531.30 altogether for the agency.

Bannister, who now lives in Castlewood, SD, then donated the animal back so it could again be resold. This time Ed Rogger, a meat processor in Basom, paid $1 per pound or $77 and donated the money to the 4-H program.

The fourth annual 4-H animal meat auction netted $20,760 in sales. The sale included three steers, seven hogs, seven meat goats, five lambs, seven chickens, four turkeys and four rabbits.

The 4-H kids raised the animals and many of them connected with buyers for the auction. The 4-H’ers typically use the funds from the sale to invest in next year’s animals and to save for college, said Kerri McKenna, a 4-H community educator and auction coordinator.

“This program allows 4-H’ers to apply real world skills no matter what industry they’re going into,” McKenna said.

She praised the generous buyers, who paid well above the market price for the animals.

“The buyers want to support the youth,” she said.

Armer just finished her freshman year at Alfred. She had four other animals in the auction, two meat goats and two more sheep. She wanted to thank the other buyers: Bentley Brothers, A.L. Bennett and Sons, Tractor Supply and Domoy Farms.

Kid power on display at the fair

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

Brandon Christiaansen, 8, of Albion uses some pedal mite in today’s small fry tractor competition at the fair. Jason Quatro, 15, of Albion volunteers as a helper for the event. He attends the Old Paths Bible Baptist Church in Clarendon, which has been assisting with the tractor pull.

Luc Wagner, 6, of Lyndonville won tonight’s small fry tractor pull heat in the 66- to 85-pound group. He pulled a wagon with a 40-pound weight for a full pull – 45 feet in front of the fair office. He qualifies for the finals at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The small fry tractor pull is a 23-year tradition at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. The competition is every weekday at 6:30 p.m., and 1:30 on Saturday with the winners competing in the finals on Saturday.

Task Force makes 2 drug arrests

Posted 30 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Press release
OC Major Felony Crime Task Force

Joel Hackenburg

MEDINA – Following a six-month investigation into the sale and distribution of prescription narcotic pills in the village of Medina, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force and Medina Police Department today executed a search warrant at 117 Worthy Ave. and arrested a resident on numerous counts of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance.

Joel D. Hackenburg, 50, was charged with one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, and four counts of criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the fourth degree.

Hackenburg was arraigned by Town of Ridgeway Justice Lawrence Sanderson and was committed to county jail on $10,000 cash bail or bond. He is to return to town court at 9 a.m. on Aug. 5.

Angel Gonzalez

In a separate investigation at 61 Ricky Place, another resident was charged with three counts of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance.

Police charged Angel Gonzalez, 73, with one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, a felony; two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree; and one count of criminal diversion of a prescription medication and prescription in the fourth degree.

Gonzalez was arraigned by Town of Ridgeway Justice Lawrence Sanderson and was committed to county jail on no bail. He is to return to Shelby town court at 9 a.m. on Aug. 1.