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Month: August 2013

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Posted 3 August 2020 at 7:00 am

We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit the length of your letter (we suggest no more than 500 words) and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to news@orleanshub.com.

Posted 3 August 2020 at 7:00 am

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Albion seeks parent input on reopening

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 August 2020 at 11:36 am

District plans for Pre-K to Grade 6 for in-person Monday through Friday; Grades 7-12 would alternate between in-person and remote learning

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Albion Middle School will see more cleaning if students are approved for in-person learning this school year.

ALBION – The school district wants to hear from parents if they plan to have their children return for in-person schooling in 2020-21 and if they will have their children be bussed in the mornings and afternoons.

Albion in the survey also is asking families about their internet access at home.

Albion is asking families to complete the survey by Aug. 7 to help the district as it prepares for a new school year. Click here to see the survey.

“I thank you for your patience and understanding as we proceed through the process of determining how best to meet the needs of your child(ren) over the next several months, while maintaining the health and safety expectations that are required,” interim superintendent Scott Bishoping said in a message to the community.

Albion also completed a 48-page reopening plan on Friday that was submitted to the State Education Department. The plan was also posted on the district website.

Albion’s first option for reopening would be in-person schooling Monday through Friday for grades prekindergarten through 6.

In grades 7-12, there would be an A Group and B Group that would alternate between in-person and remote learning. Wednesday would be remote learning for everyone in grades 7-12. The students would be in-person at school two days a week.

In option 2, would have Pre-K to grades 6 doing in-person everyday but Wednesday, which would be remote learning. Grades 7-12 would alternate between in-person and remote on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday remote for all students in 7-12.

Option 3 would have PreK to grade 6 doing remote learning three days a week and in-person two days a week. For grades 7 to 12, the A group would do in-person learning on Monday and Tuesday and then remote learning Wednesday through Friday. The B Group would do remote learning from Monday through Wednesday and then in-person learning on Thursday and Friday.

Students will need to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet as much as possible and wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible.

Minimize student movement: This potentially means having students eating lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities, the district states in the reopening plan.

Special area subjects – art, music, physical education – may be pushed into the classroom. “Whenever possible, students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction,” the plan states. “We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity and music rehearsals.”

Social Emotional Learning team: The district will have a team with certified teachers, certified school counselors, a licensed mental health professional/community partner through Orleans County Mental Health, school psychologists, school social worker, school resource officer (SRO) and school administrators.

This task force team will develop a cohesive and strategic plan, regardless of the re-entry phase, to support students and staff upon for the 2020-2021 school year. This includes a means to identify and actively support student and staff well-being and mental health concerns.

The district will have a “Helpdesk” for parents/students/teachers to report technical issues that might be experienced during remote learning.

The school district will provide all students with access to learning materials and resources in multiple formats, wherever possible.

In the event students do not have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet, the district will provide the students with alternate methods to access materials and instruction by picking up materials at school or dropping off materials to students’ homes.

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’93 saw Holley VFW claim county title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 1 August 2020 at 8:24 am

Contributed Photos – Holley VFW captured top honors in the County Baseball League in 1993 defeating Shelby 10-8 in the playoff championship game. The Holley VFW lineup included, in front, Andy Yacono, Ashley Grillo, Gary Stymus, Jim Austin, Jeff Cooper and Zak Siembor. In back are Coach Jeff Cooper, Coach Charles Mele, Matt Shull, Scott Bartlett, Coach Deri Miller, Michael Mele, Chris Caufield, Mike Kuzlowski, Desi Miller and Brandon Smith.

The lineup for the runner-up Shelby team included, in front, Mike Allis, Jeff Page, Ryan Egan, Chris Watson, Tom Dunham and Ben Scharping. In back are Jerry Lewis, Jeff Feitshans, Jon Joseph, Coach Gene Scharping, Joel Fidanza, Coach Gary Watson, Eric Howe, Coach Charlie Wilson, Brian MacFarland and Mitch Beyer. Missing from the photo are Brian Wilson and Van Morgott.

Lyndonville reopening plan would welcome all students back to in-person classes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2020 at 10:55 pm

Grades 5 & 6 would be shifted to former elementary school

File photo by Tom Rivers: Lyndonville will move some classes to the former elementary school which closed after the 2011-12 school year. The district last year used part of the building for an expanded prekindergarten program.

LYNDONVILLE – The school district’s reopening plan would give all students, in grades kindergarten through 12, the chance to attend in-person classes every school day.

Lyndonville would have reduced class sizes to allow for social distancing, spacing desks at least 6 feet apart. The district would like to move grades 5 & 6 to the former elementary school on Main Street.

That building has been largely closed since after the 2011-12 school year. Last year it was used for an expanded prekindergarten program. Pre-K would stay at the former elementary school as part of the reopening plan.

The district submitted the plan (click here) to the State Education Department today. That was the deadline for the 700 school districts in the state to send in their reopening plans, which need to include options for in-person learning, a hybrid model with in-person and remote learning, and an option that is entirely remote learning.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo next week will announce whether schools can return to in-person learning this fall.

Lyndonville’s plan includes many safety precautions with masks or face coverings required to be worn in the hallways and on buses.

The district will also increase cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, the school buildings, and buses.

There will be daily health checks, and promotion of proper hand hygiene. The district won’t be offering any after-school activities until at least Sept. 21.

If Lyndonville gets the state OK for in-person classes, students will still have the option for remote learning.

“Next week, each family will receive a survey to complete that will indicate your preference for your choice of instruction: either 100% in person or 100% remote,” District Superintendent Jason Smith said in a message to the community posted on the district’s website. “These surveys need to be returned by Friday, August 14th so we can plan accordingly.”

Smith said the district’s Re-Opening Committee has been meeting on a regular basis to develop the plan, and meet the required components from the State Department of Health and the State Education Department. The committee included representations from the Board of Education, administration, faculty, staff, parents, community and students.

Some highlights of the reopening plan include:

Face coverings will need to be worn during passing times, on the bus, at arrival and dismissal, and when 6 feet of social distancing isn’t possible. “It is our goal to reduce the requirement for face covering as much as possible by staying with current requirements,” Smith said. “In some cases, we are assigning larger classes to larger classrooms. We are purchasing protective barriers that can be used in the classroom and lunchrooms. Disposable masks will be made available to students if needed.”

Health screenings will be required for every staff member and student, with health checks to be done at home.

“If your child has a temperature of over 100 degrees F, experiences a new cough, respiratory distress, vomiting or shortness of breath, she/he MUST stay home,” Smith said. “I have been and will remain in regular contact with the Orleans County Health Department. We will continue to consult with the Health Department, as they will with us, of any suspected or confirmed cases, and respond accordingly by following all guidelines from State Education and the State Health Department.”

Hygiene and Sanitation – Signage and proper hand and hygiene cleaning will be posted throughout the school, and students will be given direct instruction on this important practice. Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom and stationed throughout the school.

Transportation – Face coverings will need to be worn on the bus and we will social distance to the extent possible. Families should notify the district if they plan to transport their children. Buses will be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis.

Staggered start the first week of school – Lyndonville is planning a staggered start to the first week of school only. Not every student will start school on the same day, but within three days, all students will be on a regular schedule.

“Do not plan on every student’s first day of school being the same, as we have done every year in the past,” Smith said. “The purpose of this plan is to introduce our students and staff to the new procedures in a structured and safe basis.”

Parent meetings will be held on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13. The Aug. 12 schedule includes noon: PreK-Grade 6; 4 p.m.: Grades 7-12; 7 p.m.: PreK to Grade 12.

The Aug. 13 schedule includes noon: grades 7-12; 4 p.m.: PreK-grade 6; 7 p.m.: PreK to Grade 12. Parents need to register for a meeting. The district sent letters to families with information about the meetings.

“We hope that all of you will return your children to school, but fully understand if you have concerns,” Smith said in his message to the community. “Again, we are offering the option for a full remote learning program, and we ask that you make that decision for the semester by August 14, 2020.”

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Schumer, in stop at STAMP, touts 3-prolonged push to develop high-tech site

Posted 31 July 2020 at 9:51 pm

Press Release, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

BASOM – Standing with local officials at Genesee County’s STAMP Campus in the Town of Alabama today, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer unveiled his three-pronged push to jolt the U.S. semiconductor industry and the Upstate New York economy into high gear.

First, Schumer called for swift passage by Congress of the final Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), in which the senator successfully included an amendment that will continue U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and revitalize innovation in the global microelectronics sector.

Second, Schumer announced his push for a $1 million Northern Border Regional Commission grant that STAMP needs to construct a new sewer line to complete STAMP’s wastewater system infrastructure. The sewer is the final piece of infrastructure that will make the 1,250-acre STAMP campus shovel-ready for manufacturing facility construction.

Third, Schumer will urge the Department of Defense to consider the STAMP campus as the agency looks to partner with industry to develop new domestic semiconductor fabs.

“The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, especially the STAMP Campus here in Genesee, is the perfect place to grow this industry by leaps and bounds,” Schumer said. “We must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry in order to keep good-paying, high-tech American manufacturing jobs here in Upstate New York. We need to ensure our domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs. This is essential to American jobs, our national security and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry.”

Schumer noted that even though the U.S. revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, competitors in Asia, especially China, have made huge investments into their microelectronics industries in recent years to challenge and undercut U.S. leadership.

In fact, Schumer pointed out, the U.S. has gone from producing 24% of the world’s semiconductors in 2000, to just 12% more recently. In contrast, China has gone from producing zero chips to 16% of the world’s supply in the same time frame. The senator warned that by 2030, Asia is projected to control 83% of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply while domestic production could be less than 10%, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, which could pose huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

Therefore, Schumer argued, his three-pronged plan to revitalize the semiconductor industry and incentivize it to build new research and manufacturing facilities in the U.S. at sites like STAMP is vital to cement global U.S. leadership in the microelectronics industry and will ease U.S. reliance on foreign-made semiconductors, alleviating economic & national security risks.

“Senator Schumer’s leadership in the Senate’s passage of the American Foundries Act as a part of the National Defense Administrative Act will help put STAMP over the finish line as it will make available necessary funding to develop and construct the final pieces of infrastructure to stand up multiple semiconductor manufacturing fabs and along with it the creation of thousands of good paying, family-sustaining jobs to Genesee County and the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.  “Attracting semiconductor and similar industries at STAMP will result in as much as $10 billion to $15 billion of private sector investment all of which will be enabled by this game changing legislation.”

Secondly today, Schumer announced his push to secure the Northern Border Regional Commission grant to construct the last missing sewer line needed for STAMP to achieve shovel-ready status. Specifically, this funding is needed to complete STAMP’s sewer and wastewater system by constructing a 14,500 sq ft force main sewer line to support new businesses that locate at STAMP.

Lastly, Schumer called on the Department of Defense to consider STAMP as a location for next-generation semiconductor research and manufacturing facilities now that the DoD is in discussions with semiconductor manufactures to build new domestic chip manufacturing facilities to ensure U.S. leadership in the global microelectronics supply chain.

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Medina looks to reopen school with Pre-K to grades 6 in class each day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2020 at 7:18 pm

Students in grades 7-12 would alternate with in-person and remote learning

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Clifford H. Wise Middle School is pictured earlier this month in Medina. The school’s reopening plan would have seventh-graders move out of the middle school to the high school.

MEDINA – The school district submitted a reopening plan to the state today. Medina’s preferred model would have all students attend classes in person for grades prekindergarten through 6.

Students in grades 7 to 12 would alternate with in-person classes and remote learning, with two groups taking turns every school day between in-person and remote learning.

The school district would have liked to have in-person learning at all grade levels for all school days. But Medina needs to space out desks at least six feet apart inside the classrooms. Medina doesn’t have enough classroom space to do that.

The district chose to prioritize the younger grade levels for in-person learning. Medina will likely have 12 to 16 students per classroom in grades kindergarten through 6 to meet the social distancing guidelines, said Superintendent Mark Kruzynski.

“If we had the space and staff we would love to bring everyone back every day,” he said this afternoon.

File photo by Tom Rivers: A Mustang banner is displayed outside Medina High School.

The district believes the socialization for students in the younger grades is particularly important. The district also heard from parents that childcare would be a challenge if the elementary-age students had to stay home on some school days.

The district will shift one grade level at Wise Middle School to the high school. Seventh-graders are currently at Wise and they will go to the high school. That will free up more classrooms at the middle school.

Additional classroom sections will be opened in grades K to 6 by utilizing AIS, reading teachers and special area teachers in grade level capacities at the elementary level, the district stated in the reopening plan.

The district posted a 35-page reopening plan on its website this afternoon. (Click here to see the plan.)

The document was also sent to the State Education Department. All 700 districts in the state had until today to submit reopening plans to the state. Those plans had to districts’ strategies for providing in three ways: in-person, a hybrid with in-person and remote learning, and remote learning only.

State officials will review the plans and next week Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce whether schools can reopen with in-person learning in September.

Kruzynski said he is hopeful the governor will approve schools’ plans to provide education in person. Medina also surveyed parents to see how many don’t plan to send students back to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. Kruzynski said 21 percent don’t plan to have their children back inside the school based on a preliminary survey. That is similar to the state average of 20 percent, the superintendent said.

Medina will have teachers work with students who take their classes remotely. The district has Chromebooks for all students who need them and teachers will have staff development in August to be better prepared for remote learning.

Medina last school year had the campus close to students on March 16 and the schools never reopened for in-person classes.

The district is asking parents to notify the district by Aug. 14 if their children won’t be taking classes in school. The district also needs to know which students will need rides on the bus. The district’s reopening plan calls for one student in each bus seat, and masks must be worn on busses.

The district’s plan also calls for more frequent cleaning, including a daily disinfection of buses with more frequent cleaning in between bus runs of high-touch areas such as door handles, hand rails, bus seats and seat backs.

• Staggered schedules: The district will also stagger the schedules at the three buildings offering in-person education. The proposed schedules include:

  • For all Pre-K through grade 3 students, 7:35 a.m to 1:35 p.m.
  • For students in grades 4-6, 7:45 a.m. to 1:45 PM.
  • For students in grades 7-12, there will be alternating in-person education from 7:55 a.m. to 1:55 p.m. (Students will receive virtual education on days they are not physically present in school.)

• More WiFi on campus: Medina is also pursuing high-speed outdoor WiFi to completely encompass and cover the school grounds/green spaces, as well as parking lots. Kruzynski said many homes and sections in the community don’t have high-speed internet.

“This will allow, not only classes to go outside and exercise social distancing, but allow for a central location after hours if students and their parents need to come to download or upload any necessary assignments,” the district states in the reopening plan. “It is our goal to have these systems fully operational sometime in mid-late fall.”

The district will also provide Chromebooks for in grades 4 through 12 as a take-home device. Any student needing a device in K-3 will be allocated a device for use at home if virtual instruction is chosen by the family.

• Pre-K: Medina also is planning to offer the prekindergarten program in the library to allow for increased social distance requirements. Teaching centers will be used by individual children and each child will have their own individual supply box for classroom materials to be used daily.

At the early level, a big emphasis will be placed on teaching children proper hand washing, social distancing and use of masks.

Children in the UPK program are provided a meal each day. The classroom will be used as a place for all children to eat with children seated at socially distant tables throughout the room.

• Remote Instruction: If Medina needs to shift to a remote format, students will already be entered into a Google Classroom digital platform. The Google Classroom will be a place for teachers to include daily activities, videos and a set of lessons which parents will be able to do with their children. Google Classroom will also be a portal for parent-teacher communications.

• Minimizing movement of students in schools: Medina will minimize having student sin big groups and from moving about the buildings. This potentially means having students eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities.

• Special-area subjects: Art, music, physical education may be pushed into the classroom. “Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity,” the district stated in the reopening plan.

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Orleans, Genesee each report 1 new confirmed case of Covid-19

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2020 at 4:24 pm

State reports lowest Covid hospitalizations, ICU patients since mid-March

Orleans and Genesee counties each are reporting one new confirmed case of Covid-19.

The new case in Orleans is a person in the 60s from Shelby. The individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive. The county has now had 276 people test positive for Covid-19.

Orleans also has one person hospitalized with Covid-19, and 12 new individuals on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments is reporting this afternoon.

Genesee County received 1 new confirmed case and now has a total of 256 people who have tested positive.

The new case is a Batavia resident in the 30s. The individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.

Genesee has one person hospitalized with Covid-19. Genesee has 23 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

State sees new low in hospitalizations, intubations: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said hospitalizations statewide are at 576, the lowest since March 17. Patients in ICU due to Covid-19 are at 140, the lowest since March 16, and intubations are down to 70, a new low since March 15.

“So much of our ability to fight this destructive virus is dependent on what each of us does in day-to-day life, and social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands make a huge difference as we stay New York Smart,” Cuomo said. “I ask New Yorkers to continue practicing those good habits and closely following state guidance, and I urge local governments to enforce that guidance.”

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments issued the following information:

• Travel Advisory: New York is requiring travelers from the following 34 states with high coronavirus rates to self-quarantine for 14 days: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The list also includes Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Those violating could be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine and potential fines. These states may change at any time.

• Be alert for scam artists: The Genesee and Orleans County Health Department staff will always identify themselves, their position, and the reason for their visit or phone call. All staff have county provided identification badges that have their pictures.

In the event you are approached by someone stating they are from the health department without a clear reason for their visit or phone call, do not let them in your home, do not give them any information and call 911.

• Community Testing Sites: Check with the testing site for any specific criteria necessary for testing such as illness, contact with someone who tested positive, essential worker, required for reopening/business, etc. Many need to have a doctor referral/prescription. Always call first.

  • Oak Orchard Health: 301 West Ave Albion, NY 14411. Call (585) 589-5613 to be screened and to schedule an appointment – no walk-ins.
  • WellNow Urgent Care: 4189 Veterans Memorial Drive Batavia, NY 14020.
  • Rochester Regional Health Urgent Care: 16 Bank Street Batavia, NY 14020. (Rochester Regional Health has transitioned Covid-19 evaluations from the tents at 127 North Street to Urgent Care.)

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Rainbow Preschool closing will be ‘extremely challenging’ for families

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2020 at 3:39 pm

ALBION – The announcement today that Rainbow Preschool is closing ends a program that is nearly 50 years old.

The school, with sites in Albion and Batavia, serves children ages 2 ½ to 5 with developmental and intellectual disabilities. There are no similar programs in Orleans or Genesee counties.

“The closure of Rainbow Preschool this close to the school year without sufficient notice presents a significant challenge to find suitable locations to provide center-based services to children in the pre-k program,” said Paul Pettit, public health director in the two counties.

The Health Department works with families to find options to preschool programs for children with disabilities.

“Our staff are currently working with all the county school special education committees to find alternate options for the school year,” Pettit said. “With such a late notice of closure, this is extremely challenging as many of the out-of-county facilities are already full so there is limited availability to take these now displaced children.”

Rainbow Preschool provided special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology, counseling, parent training, music therapy, and speech/language therapy for students to prepare them for kindergarten.

The school was run by the Arc of Genesee Orleans. At its peak, a former employee said the school served 300 children. The enrollment for 2020-21 was at 26 students.

“This decision was made with heavy hearts,” Donna Saskowski, Arc executive director, said in a statement.

She cited uncertain funding and declining enrollment as factors in the decision to close, as well as uncertainty with the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, no date has been given by the state for when students and teachers could return to class.

She said the Arc will work with parents and with school district representatives to find appropriate placements and ensure continuity of services.

Pettit said it will be difficult to find another preschool, especially when that is close to home.

“There is the new reality of having to bus children to out-of-county programs in surrounding counties which is challenging both on a logistics (time on the bus – could be up to an hour or more each way) and cost standpoint to the county (busing costs will increase significantly),” he said.

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Photos: Holley food distribution at school parking lot

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 July 2020 at 1:52 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Andrew Dreschel, who will be a senior at Holley this school year, was among the volunteers this morning at a food distribution at the parking lot for the Holley Junior-Senior High School.

This was the first time the event was at the school parking lot. Last month it was at the parking lot at the Holley Pharmacy and former Save-A-Lot grocery store.

There were long lines backed up in the Public Square and down Route 31 at that location.

Today motorists entered the school campus from High Street and went up the road from the bus garage to the junior-senior high school.

That worked well in keeping the vehicles from backing up on the public streets.

Michelle Figueroa, case manager for Community Action, checks the temperature on volunteer Dave Gagne. Figueroa made sure everyone’s temperature was under 100 degrees. Gagne was volunteering for the first time today at one of the food distribution.

The cars are lined up down the road on the school campus. One of the delivery trucks is at left.

Annette Grillo, community services director for Community Action, gives the group of volunteers instructions. She urged people to take a break if they felt a little woozy from the heat.

Community Action had cold water and Gatorade drinks for the volunteers, as well as hand sanitizer and masks.

Each vehicle received three boxes – produce, meats and dairy, as well as some strawberries. There was enough for 300 vehicles. Each box weighed about 25 pounds.

Food for the first 250 vehicles went fast. The cars and trucks were allowed in the parking lot at about 8:40 a.m. An hour later, when this photo was taken, most of the food was gone. There were still about 50 boxes left of produce, meat and dairy.

These empty pallets are stacked after being cleared with boxes of food.

The food distributions are made possible through a state-funded program called Nourish New York. This funding allows Foodlink to purchase local product.

On a federal level, the USDA has implemented a new initiative called CFAP (Coronavirus Food Assistance Program). In this program, distributors who would normally serve schools, restaurants, and municipal programs are able to pre-pack boxes of perishable product and deliver to distributions being done all over the country.

The distributions will continue in August in Orleans County. There hasn’t been any indication if the program will continue after that, said Finch and also Melissa Blanar, director of the Office for the Aging in Orleans County.

People interested in volunteering should contact Blanar at the Office for the Aging at 589-3191.

The schedule for the distributions through the end of August includes:

  • Friday, August 7 – in Albion at Community Action Main Street Store, 9:30 a.m. until gone
  • Wednesday, Aug. 12, at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds on Route 31 in Knowlesville (includes one box of produce), 10 a.m. until gone
  • Friday, Aug. 14 – in Medina at school district, 9:30 a.m. until gone
  • Friday, Aug. 21 – in Albion at Community Action Main Street Store, 9:30 a.m. until gone
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds on Route 31 in Knowlesville (includes one box of produce), 10 a.m. until gone
  • Friday, Aug. 28 – in Holley, location to be determined, 9:30 a.m. until gone

These events tend to start about an hour earlier than the advertised time if the food delivery trucks have arrived and if there is a long line of vehicles.

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Arc announces Rainbow Preschool will close

Posted 31 July 2020 at 11:52 am

Press Release, Arc of Genesee Orleans

ALBION – After decades of service, Rainbow Preschool, operated by Arc of Genesee Orleans, will permanently close on Aug. 14.

Rainbow Preschool, located in Batavia and Albion, serves children from 2½ to 5 years old with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The preschool provided special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology, counseling, parent training, music therapy, and speech/language therapy to help students achieve kindergarten readiness.

Preschool staff are New York state certified teachers, with teacher assistants and aides in the classroom.

The decision was made after careful consideration by Arc of Genesee Orleans’ board of directors.

“This decision was made with heavy hearts,” said Donna Saskowski, executive director. “For any children who are enrolled with Rainbow for the 2020-21 school year, we will work directly with parents and with school district representatives to secure appropriate placements and ensure continuity of services.”

Rainbow Preschool provided critical services to generations of children with and without disabilities and they have a proud history of service for children with special needs. The current environment of the pandemic, uncertain funding and declining enrollment all played a role in this difficult decision. While no return to class date was set due to NY State COVID-19 restrictions, enrollment to date included 26 children.

The school in Albion was located at the Arnold Gregory Complex at 243 S. Main St. In Batavia, Rainbow Preschool was at the former Robert Morris school on Union Street.

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Albion 15U will open diamond season Wed.

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 July 2020 at 8:47 am

Albion’s 15U baseball team will begin competing in the GLOW League this coming Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. against Elba at Williams Park in Batavia.

Albion will then face Legion at 7:30 p.m. Thursday also at Williams Park.

The six team GLOW League, which plays all of its games at Williams Park, also includes Batavia, Attica and GLOW.

The Albion roster includes Jacob Hughson, Mason Bennett, Vinnie Molisani, Javon Jones, Adrian Kingdollar, Jayden Allport, Dallas Ecker, Cade Wolcott, Chris Sacco, Caden Uderitz, Bryce Wilson, Caleb Fox, Dylan Narburgh and Finn McCue.

Albion’s schedule of games for the season at Williams Park is as follows:

August: 5- Elba, 5:30 p.m.; 6 – Legion, 7:30 p.m.; 10 – GLOW, 5:30 p.m.; 12 – Batavia, 7:30 p.m.; 18 – Attica, 7:30 p.m.; 20 – Legion, 5:30 p.m.; 22 – Batavia, 9 a.m. and GLOW, 1:30 p.m.; 24 – Elba, 7:30 p.m.; 26 – GLOW, 7:30 p.m.; 31 – Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

September: 2 – Attica, 7:30 p.m.

Interim hospital CEO says many health services provided locally

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 31 July 2020 at 7:32 am

‘Because of the generosity of our community, we have been able to handle all that has been thrown at us so far.’

Contributed photo: Marc Shurtz is the interim chief executive/chief financial officer at Orleans Community Health. He started the job on Wednesday, replacing Mark Cye, who left to take the chief financial officer position at Warren General Hospital in Warren, Pa.

MEDINA – It has always been Marc Shurtz’s goal to attain a position where he could help an organization thrive.

He believes he is on the path to realizing that goal as the new interim chief executive/chief financial officer at Orleans Community Health.

Shurtz officially took over the position on Wednesday from Mark Cye, who joined Orleans Community Health just five years ago and held the duel title of CEO/CFO for just over two years. Cye resigned, effective July 28, to take a position as CFO at Warren General Hospital, an $80 million operation in Warren, Pa.

Cye said he has enjoyed his time and roles at Orleans Community Health and is excited to get back to the finance role. He credits the hospital’s movement in the right direction during the past several years to the continuous support of the staff at Orleans Community Health, something which Shurtz hopes continues under his direction.

Shurtz grew up in Michigan and moved to this area after serving in the Navy for 13 years. He was drawn to the healthcare field because he finds it very rewarding to have a positive effect on the community every day. Prior to his career move to Orleans Community Health, Shurtz worked for a large law firm in Buffalo for more than 10 years.

Cye is confident with Shurtz’s ability to fulfill his new role, as he has been working closely with Cye during the past year. Shurtz has served Orleans Community Health as chief information officer and corporate compliance officer since 2014. He brings 20 years of management experience spanning across military, legal and healthcare backgrounds.

Shurtz is excited about the opportunity to work with the community to find ways to keep Orleans Community Health a valuable asset for the community.

“We have been very fortunate to have the communities’ support during this pandemic,” Shurtz said. “Because of the generosity of our community, we have been able to handle all that has been thrown at us so far. We continue to be diligent in infection control and have been open to opening all services back up. In this day it is difficult to keep health care services close to home, but that is my goal. I also want to market a lot of the services which I don’t think the community realizes we provide.”

These include infusion therapy (beneficial to people suffering from dehydration, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and anemia), blood transfusions (on an out-patient basis), a wound care center, podiatry and phlebotomy , as well as blood tests and wide range of X-rays. Shurtz also noted the hospital’s long-term care ward recently achieved a four-star rating with the New York State Department of Health.

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Jacobs appointed to House Agriculture Committee

Posted 31 July 2020 at 7:12 am

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) has been officially appointed to the House Agriculture Committee.

“Agriculture is immensely important to both our Western New York community and economy, and I am honored to represent our great family farms in Congress,” Jacobs said. “Right now, my focus is on ensuring our farmers have the resources needed to continue their important operations providing food for families during this challenging time, but I am also looking toward the future to develop policies that allow for future generations of farmers to thrive in Western New York.”

A major need in the Western New York community is improving access to rural broadband. The Agriculture Committee currently oversees this area and is tasked with developing ways to provide reliable expanded coverage.

“I have been a vocal advocate for the need for greater broadband access in our area, not only do our farmers and their machinery rely on it, but it is also critical for small businesses, students, and telehealth services – which have become increasingly important,” Jacobs said. “While I fight for our great farming industry, I will also be working to improve the lives of all Western New Yorkers by addressing this critical need.”

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1,200 chicken barbecue dinners sell out at Extension

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2020 at 10:10 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – Gary Roberts of Medina helps cook some of the chicken halves in the pits at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds today. Roberts has been volunteering with the dinner for about 35 years.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County put on their annual chicken barbecue today even though the 4-H Fair was cancelled this week because of concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tickets were only available by presale or online and all 1,200 sold before the dinner started at 4 p.m.

Mitzi Peglow carries a tray of cherry desserts. Kelly Dudley, left, helped in the kitchen at the Trolley Building. There were about 25 volunteers helping with the meals.

It took 50 dozen ears of corn, at half an ear per meal, to fill all of the takeout containers.

The crew inside the kitchen at the Trolley Building passed for a brief photo.

Mason Roberts spreads the Cornell Barbecue Sauce on the chicken halves. He has been helping with the dinner the past 12 years. He used to show llamas at the fair when he was in 4-H.

There were long lines of vehicles that waited about an hour for their dinners. The meals were takeout only.

The dinner was sold out. Some people who showed up wanting a dinner were disappointed all the pre-sale tickets were gone.

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Orleans reports 1 new Covid-19 case, Genesee 2 more

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2020 at 7:29 pm

Orleans County has one new confirmed case of Covid-19, a person in the 40s from Gaines, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments is reporting this afternoon.

The individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive. Orleans has now had 275 people test positive for Covid-19.

The county also has one additional person on precautionary quarantine for 2 weeks due to travel from a restricted state with high Co id-19 infections.

Genesee County has 2 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 for a total of 255 positive cases.

The new positive cases include a Batavia resident and a person from LeRoy. One of the individuals is in the 40s and the other is in the 50s.

Neither of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.

Genesee also has three new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

• Hospitalizations at lowest level statewide since March 17: Both Genesee and Orleans each have a resident hospitalized with Covid-19. Gov. Andrew Cuomo today reported there are 586 people in the state hospitalized with Covid-19, the lowest number since March 17.

The number of ICU patients statewide is at 142 today due to Covid-19, the lowest number since March 16.

More from the local Health Department:

Travel Advisory: New York is requiring travelers from the following 34 states with high coronavirus rates to self-quarantine for 14 days: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The list also includes Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Those violating could be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine and potential fines. These states may change at any time.

Be alert for scam artists: The Genesee and Orleans County Health Department staff will always identify themselves, their position, and the reason for their visit or phone call. All staff have county provided identification badges that have their pictures.

In the event you are approached by someone stating they are from the health department without a clear reason for their visit or phone call, do not let them in your home, do not give them any information and call 911.

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State approves $235K for security at Medina in Smart Schools Bond Act funding

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2020 at 3:39 pm

The state has approved $235,256 in high-tech security upgrades at Medina Central School. The project was included in the latest round of funding through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

The money is available through a $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, which was passed by NY voters in 2014. (In Orleans County, the five school districts were approved for about $7 million combined in technology aid as part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act. The state breaks that down to $2,238,441 for Albion; $1,311,463 for Holley; $967,959 for Kendall; $733,151 for Lyndonville; and $2,000,222 for Medina.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that $94 million in projects have been approved at 131 school districts and five special education schools. Those projects include classroom technology, high-tech security and school connectivity.

“As the ongoing public health crisis has shown, now more than ever we must do everything possible to help schools modernize their infrastructure and are equipped to keep students up with their studies even when they can’t be in the classroom,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With this funding, we are helping schools navigate the pandemic while expanding opportunities and providing students with the skills and technology they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

The Smart Schools Review Board met today for the 15th time to consider investment plans submitted by school districts and special education schools. The Board is composed of the Director of the Budget, the Chancellor of the State University of New York, and the Commissioner of the State Education Department.

The plans approved today were submitted by 131 school districts and five special education schools. Projects include $52.2 million for classroom technology, $13.7 million for school connectivity, $24.9 million for high-tech security and $2 million for pre-kindergarten classrooms.

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