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Month: January 2014

Village leaders need to let Albany know about funding disparity

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am


They showed up in force in Albany on Monday, in what has become known as the annual “Tin Cup Brigade.” Leaders of cities with big problems: shrinking tax bases and populations, and rising costs for pensions, employee benefits and mounting infrastructure needs. The mayors of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Yonkers and New York City all demanded more help from the state.

“Let’s make this the year that the state steps up to the plate when it comes to investing in public safety at the community level,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said at a joint legislative hearing about the state budget. “Let’s make this the year when we start to make our cities strong and truly livable again.”

The mayors painted a picture of despair – deteriorating neighborhoods and loss of businesses and residents – while also sharing hope that the cities would be stronger with more state funding.

They were hammering at the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, a program that provides $715 million in state money to cities, villages and towns. The cities already get the lion’s share of that money – far more in per capita dollars than the towns and villages. (Click here for an Orleans Hub article on Monday detailing the disparity.)

‘The main problem for these villages is a state government big on lectures and mandates, with no money to back it up.’

Most small cities get between $100 and $200 per person. In villages of similar size, the per capita aid from the state generally ranges from $5 to $10. Big cities get even more per capita. Buffalo, the second biggest city after New York City, gets $617 per person.

Orleans Hub wrote about this glaring inequity on Monday. That was also the day the Assembly and Senate held the joint hearing in Albany about local government.

I’ve tried to find out why the cities’ per capita aid is so much more than villages, despite their comparable services and comparable problems. I still haven’t got any good answers.

But I think the main reason may be the mayors of the cities aren’t afraid to ask for the money. They go to Albany and demand it.

The same hearing on Monday didn’t include a mayor from a village. (Click here to see the list of speakers.) The city leaders also were on the radio and television, trying to make their case for more money. I don’t think the state legislators realize how unfair the state aid sharing is, and I don’t think they know the depth of distress in the villages. No village voice is heard in Albany, advocating for these places.

The big cities are led by professional politicians making six-figure incomes with huge staffs to draft speeches and line up media appearances. The villages have mayors who typically are working other full-time jobs. These mayors make less than $10,000 a year. They don’t have assistants. They drive themselves and don’t have security.

The state legislators should insist on hearing from some of the mayors from these upstate villages.

Warren, the Rochester mayor, noted that her city gets less per capita than others, including Buffalo. However, at more than $400 per person, Rochester gets far more per capita than the $6.41 for village of Albion residents.

I agree with this statement from Warren: “Let’s make this the year that we work together to come up with a needs-based AIM aid formula that provides equitable assistance to all.” That should apply to the villages as well as the cities, Mrs. Mayor.

Orleans Hub’s editorial on Monday detailed the unfairness in state aid per capita for cities versus villages. Small cities get far more than villages, despite functioning in largely the same ways. However, the cities get about 20-to-1 more in aid per capita.

Take the city of Salamanca, population 5,815. It gets $928,131 in state aid or $159.61 per person. The village of Albion, population 6,056, gets a measly $38,811 or $6.41 per person. The village of Medina and its 6,065 residents get $45,523 or $7.51 per person.

I’ve had trouble sleeping since discovering the state-sponsored discrimination against the village people over the weekend. I’m so angry and outraged about it, knowing that fair treatment from the state would have prevented some of the devastation in these upstate villages.

The state has been shafting these communities, leading to their demise. If the villages, many with full-time police and myriad of other services, were on par with cities like Salamanca, we would have much different places. They would be much healthier places with smaller tax rates, updated infrastructure and higher property values. It wouldn’t feel like these places are falling apart.

‘Fair treatment from the state would have prevented some of the devastation in these upstate villages.’

Many of those familiar with upstate villages will recall grander, more prosperous days. I often hear people reminisce about Albion as “the place to be.” Yes, we have lost major industries, and the loss of well-paying jobs has hurt these communities.

But the state’s feeble aid has been a dagger in the heart. It’s year after year of neglect and indifference. And the governor has the gall to lecture these places that he rarely sets foot in about controlling expenses and reducing layers of government.

The main problem for these villages is a state government big on lectures and mandates, with no money to back it up.

Albion girls post win over Medina

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Justce Nauden scored 18 for Albion this evening in a home court victory over rival Medina.

Improving to 8-3, Albion posted a 47-22 victory over visiting rival Medina this evening in a Niagara-Orleans League girls basketball game.

Justice Nauden scored a game high 18 points to lead the way for Albion. Kelsee Soule added 9, Sarah Metzler 8, Jessica Raglan 5, Chanyce Powell 4, Jayne Bannister 2 and Mandy Covis 1 for the Purple Eagles.

Taylor Miller led Medina with 13 as Molley Gross netted 5, Emily Kams 3 and Nicole Blount 1.

Getting 6 points from Nauden and 4 from Soule, Albion jumped out to a 15-7 first quarter lead.

The Purple Eagles went on to lead by margins of 26-9 at the half and 36-12 at the three-quarter mark.

The loss drops Medina to 1-10.

CSAT 59, Barker 48
A 21-9 fourth quarter scoring edge earned CSAT (5-6) a 59-48 victory over visiting Barker (4-7).

Julia Atwater and Olivia Denny each scored 10 points for Barker as Melissa Grosshans added 9 and Caitlyn Mason 8.

Wilson 43, Akron 28
Jumping out to a 23-11 half-time advantage, undefeated (10-0) defending champion Wilson went on to defeat visiting Akron (4-6) 43-28.

Emily Lasher had a game high 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Wilson as Allie Bubar added 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals; Dana Smith 6 points and 6 rebounds and Kaylee Stoelting 8 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Newfane 47, Roy-Hart 32
Trailing 21-20 at the half, Newfane (9-2) used a big 27-11 second half scoring surge to earn a 47-32 victory over Roy-Hart (2-9).

Marlo MacFarlane had 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks to lead the way for Newfane.

Wheatland-Chili 50, Lyndonville 45
Rebounding from a 21-16 half-time deficit, Wheatland-Chili rallied to edge host Lyndonville 50-45 in a Genesee Region League game.

W-C rallied into a 33-31 lead after three-quarters and then used a 17-14 scoring edge down the stretch to earn the narrow win.

Jenna Castricone scored 14, Alyssa Mahnke 12 and Rebekah Hoffee 9 to lead Lyndonville.

Pembroke 38, Holley 29
Down 19-15 at the half, Pembroke rallied to outscore Holley 23-10 in the second half to claim the 38-29 G-R victory.

Nicole Blackburn had 18 points and 4 rebounds, Sam Barniak 7 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists and Jade Underwood 10 rebounds and 4 points for Holley on the evening which was the Lady Hawks second annual Fight Against Cancer fund raising event.

Orleans trims high unemployment rate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

County has fallen from 10.9% to 8.4% in year

The latest unemployment news from the state Department of Labor shows a marked improvement in the unemployment rate in Orleans County, compared to a year earlier. However, Orleans still ranks among the counties with the highest jobless rates in the state.

Orleans County had a 10.9 percent unemployment rate in December 2012. That fell to 8.5 percent in November 2013, and then to 8.4 percent last month.

The counties with the four highest rates include Bronx, 10.6 percent; Hamilton, 9.1 percent; Jefferson, 9.1 percent; and Lewis, 8.9 percent.

The following have the lowest unemployment rates: Tompkins County, 4.1 percent; Nassau, 4.8 percent, Putnam, 4.8 percent; and Rockland, 4.9 percent.

The state DOL report shows a growing private sector job count, up 109,900 from December 2012 to December 2013. The state’s unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in December 2013, which was down from 7.4 percent in November.

The unemployment rates for other rural GLOW counties include 6.1 percent for both Genesee and Livingston, and 7.3 percent for Wyoming.

Newfane, Roy-Hart dominate girls N-O swim championships

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo contributed by Randy Knaak – Seven Roy-Hart and six Newfane swimmers shared in earning top honors at the annual Niagara-Orleans girls individual championships this evening at Akron. The Roy-Hart swimmers include Calee Coleman, Melissa Zakrzewski, Emily DiMayo, Lindsay Yates, Alex Hill, Courtney VanBuren and Hanah Rausch. Newfane’s winners include Lydia Gaughran, Allie DeBiase, Kiki Dy, Mallory Buzyniski, Kendall Schmeelke and Brianna Gaughran.

Regular season champion Newfane and runner-up Roy-Hart dominated the competition at the annual Niagara-Orleans All-League girls individual swim championships at Akron this evening taking first place in all 11 events.

Newfane had a pair of individual event double winners as Kiki Dy took the 50 freestyle (:26.52) and the 100 free (:56.94) and Allie DeBiase captured the 200 individual medley (2:29.68) and the 100 breaststroke (1:15.82).

Roy-Hart got a double win effort from Calee Coleman who took both the 500 free (5:35.04) and the 100 backstroke (1:06.91).

The other individual events saw Newfane’s Lydia Gaughran take the 200 free (2:11.0) and Roy-Hart’s Alex Hill the 100 butterfly (1:11.19).

In the relay events, Roy-Hart took the 200 medley in 2:04.70 with the foursome of Coleman, Melissa Zakrzewski, Emily DiMayo and Lindsay Yates and the 400 free in 4:01.02 with the quartet of Coleman, Yates, Courtney VanBuren and Hannah Rausch while Newfane took the 200 free in 1:53.58 with Dy, Brianna Gaughran, Kendall Schmeelke and Mallory Buzyniski.

Yates also placed second in both the 50 and 100 free, Hill in the individual medley, VanBuren in the 200 free and Lydia Gaughran in the 500 free.

Protestors again target ‘Squirrel Slam’ in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

HOLLEY – A “Squirrel Slam” fund-raiser that drew national attention, and a record number of participants last year, will continue this year with the event scheduled for Feb. 22.

This is the eighth year the Holley Fire Department has planned the fund-raiser. The first six years there was no controversy. Last year, the Friends of Animals organization made stopping the event a mission, sending letters to the editor and press releases to the media.

The group showed up in Holley to protest the event, and worked with state legislators to draft legislation to ban animal-killing contests, bills that haven’t passed the Legislature.

“This is the second year FoAis challenging the Holley Fire Department to cancel the violent, regressive ‘Squirrel Slam,’” said Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s NY Director.  “Our experiences protesting the event last year showed a sickening, gun-worshipping culture of adults, teenagers and children who celebrated the violence of mass animal killingcheering on the hunters as they waved fistfuls of dead squirrels in our faces and in the air, even plastered them on their cars, before they entered the fire house to weigh the corpses and win cash and gun prizes.”

Orleans Hub has reached out to Fire Department officials for about two weeks for comments about the Squirrel Slam, but hasn’t received a return call or text message. The department doesn’t highlight the fund-raiser on its web site.

The Daily News of Batavia reports today that the department doesn’t want to comment on the event this year. For more information, visit

Friends of Animals will press state legislators to support bills introduced in the Assembly and Senate that would ban wildlife-killing contests.

“Coyotes, squirrels and crows are frequently targeted in New York State in killing contests,” Birnkrant said. “The need to pass pending legislation to ban wildlife-killing contests in New York couldn’t be more urgent.”

In the Holley competition contestants pay an entry fee and then go hunting for squirrels. Hunters as young as 12 can win prizes for biggest squirrels shot.

Animal rights activists protested last year and urged Holley to cancel the event. The Village Board and Fire Department let it continue and participation surged from the usual 250 to about 700. Outside police were brought in to help manage the protest.

Youth hockey players headed to Lake Placid for Winter Games

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – Tri-County Youth Hockey’s Squirt travel team will play in Lake Placid next weekend during the 34th Empire State Winter Games. The team’s head coach is Scott Bader of Albion, back row in center. His son Carson, second from the right in the bottom row, plays on the team. Another Albionite, Max Hapeman, plays on the team. He is to Carson’s right and slightly behind. Several other players with local connections are on the team.

BROCKPORT – Some local youth hockey players will get to experience the thrills of the opening ceremonies, while mingling with some top winter athletes next weekend.

Tri-County Youth Hockey’s Squirt travel team won’t be in Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics. But the team will be traveling to Lake Placid, home of the 1980 Olympics. They will be playing in the 34th Empire State Winter Games, which is touted as the largest, multi-sport amateur athletic event in North America.

“It’s not the usual hockey tournament,” said Scott Bader, head coach for the team based in Brockport. His son Carson is one of the players. Another Albion boy, Max Hapeman, plays on the team of 9- through 11-year-olds.

The team is one of two from Western New York picked for the 8-team tournament at the Empire State Games. Two teams are chosen from the western, central, eastern and northern regions of the state. A team from Batavia also will play from WNY.

“It’s really exciting for the kids,” said Bader.

The team got off to a torrid start this year, winning their first 13 games, outscoring opponents 80 to 20. That strong start earned them an invite to the Empire State Games. Besides Bader, the team is coached by Dan Viola and Jesse Rausch.

Each player will receive an athlete jacket and be part of the opening ceremonies. Bader said at many hockey tournaments, players spend down time in a hotel. At the Empire States Games, they want to see the other sports – the bobsled, alpine skiing, luge, ice skating, speed skating and ski jumping.

Team members include Carson Bader, Evan Bovee, Gaven Egan, Ella Fadale, Max Hapeman, Jonathan Lomonaco, Jeremiah Rausch, Nickolas Rippe, Henry Schultz, Dominic Viola, Hayden Watt, Joshua Wood and Majia Young.

The team didn’t include the trip in its budget, and Bader said the group welcomes donations to help cover the travel costs. Some local businesses have already chipped in, including a $600 donation from Citizens Bank, $100 from St. Mary’s Athletic Club, $240 from St. Mary’s patrons, and other donations from Frank’s Auto and Gordy and Maureen Watt.

For more information about helping with the trip, contact team manager Kristin Bovee at

The Elks Club used to meet in downtown Albion a century ago

Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian

The Albion Lodge No. 1006, B.P.O. Elks, was organized on Jan. 29, 1906. The organization’s club rooms and lodge were located on the third floor of what is now the Five Star Bank building on Main Street in downtown Albion.

This series of five interior pictures shows the Elks Lodge in 1910. The top photo shows the lodge room.

The Elks Club now meets at 428  West State St., the former recreation hall for the fire department.

The room with the billiards tables

The card room

The mission parlor

The reception room

Mustang cagers roll past rival Purple Eagles

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo By Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Munjie Brown puts up a shot over Albion defenders Des Blackmon (21) and Ryan Fannin (10) during the Mustangs home court victory over the Purple Eagles this evening.

Taking charge with a big second quarter scoring burst, Medina went on to defeat visiting rival Albion 74-49 this evening to make it six straight Niagara-Orleans League boys basketball victories.

Munjie Brown scored a game high 20 and Dylan Lewis 13 to lead a parade of 10 Medina point getters.

Jason Hellwig and Cedric Griffith both added 8, Kevin Arnold 7, Ben McPherson, Adam Hoot, Josh Cuadrado and Brennan Zinkievich 4 and David Garrow 2 as the Mustangs improve to 8-2 in the league and 11-3 overall.

Ryan Fannin scored 11, Des Blackmon and Alex Bison 10 each for Albion which slips to 5-6, 6-9.

Connor Barleben added 7 for the Purple Eagles as Austin Loyd, Clayton Stanton and Andrew Burroughs each chipped in with 3 and Manny Thompson 2.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Ryan Fannin grabs off a rebound for Albion as Dylan Lewis moves in for Medina.

Leading by a narrow 19-18 margin at the end of the first quarter, Medina started the second period with a key 15-0 run to break the contest open.

Back-to-back buckets off turnovers by Brown and McPherson ignited that key uprising which also featured a three by Lewis, two layups by Griffith and one by McPherson as the Mustangs pulled away to a 34-18 advantage.

The Mustangs maintained a 16 point, 43-27, lead at the half after a three and a layup by Lewis, a rebound bucket by Brown and a layup off a turnover by Hellwig.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Ben McPherson puts up a shot for the Mustangs as Connor Barleben defends for the Purple Eagles.

Medina boosted its advantage to as much as 25, 59-34, late in the third quarter as threes by Hellwig and Arnold highlighted a 16-7 run.

The Mustangs maintained a commanding 20 point, 59-39, advantage at the three-quarter mark and the Purple Eagles could get no closer than 19 down the stretch.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barleben puts up a shot over Medina’s Jason Hellwig.

Barker 68 CSAT 42
Undefeated (10-0, 14-0) Barker maintained a two game N-O lead by downing visiting defending champion CSAT 68-42.

Jacob Haight scored a game high 24 points, Christopher Sweeney and Bryce Moeller 13 and Mitch Luckman 10 to lead the way for Barker.

Trailing 18-14 after one period, Barker outscored CSAT 40-20 over the middle two periods to take control.

Haight and Sweeney both scored seven to key a 20-10 second period burst which rallied the Raiders into a 34-28 half-time advantage.

Barker boosted the lead to 16, 54-38, at the three-quarter mark as nine points by Haight led another 20-10 run.

The loss drops CSAT to 4-6.

Roy-Hart 54, Newfane 51
Improving to 6-4 in N-O action, Roy-Hart trimmed visiting Newfane (3-8) 54-51.

Alex Stoddard scored a game high 16, Andy Xapsos 13, Cody Breedlove and DeRon Woods 9 each to spark Roy-Hart which led 17-15 after one quarter, 29-24 at the half and 40-36 at the three-quarter mark.

Josh Kneeland led Newfane with 13.

Wilson 45, Akron 39
Kyle Bradley scored 15, Joe Littere 12 and Evan Shank 10 to lead Wilson (4-6) to a 45-39 victory over host Akron (1-9).

Noah Diebel scored 15 and Brendan Weierheiser 11 for Akron.

Antique store draws shoppers to Gaines

Posted 30 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – The Old Goat’s sign by the edge of the road features a well-dressed goat smoking a pipe and wearing a monocle.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

GAINES – Walking into The Old Goat is like stepping into a cozy country home. Tarama Vacanti, the owner of the store, greets you at the door with a smile and happily lets you explore. The store is made of three rooms full of antiques and vintage items, as well as some country crafts.

The Old Goat has a diverse selection. You can find everything from antique signs to sewing machines, lanterns to luggage, doorknobs to decorations, and many other items.

Vacanti started her business from her house by selling out of her garage and through eBay for 15 years. She finally decided to open a store in Gaines four months ago and has found a huge outpouring of interest in her business.

“The people here are awesome,” she said. “Everyone is very supportive. This is a lot of fun.”

Her husband Eddie helps create some of the store’s most popular items: recycled and repurposed furniture. The items, such as benches and cabinets, are usually made from wood that was sourced from barns and 1800s homes.

The front room of the shop offers a mixture of antique and recycled-wood furniture.

Many of The Old Goat’s customers are repeats and they come from Canada to Canandaigua. Some of them come in seeking specific items. Vacanti commented that some people come in to see what she has stocked for silver items, while another woman comes in looking for old-fashioned baby clothing.

The store has new items about twice a week, and Vacanti said her family brings her their finds all the time. She tries to make sure every time a customer comes in that they see something different.

Vacanti also said that if someone is looking for a specific item and she doesn’t have it, she will put it on a list of what to look for during buying trips.

The back room is a showcase for many smaller items such as antique toys and housewares.

The Old Goat, located at 14069 Ridge Rd. West, is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call (585) 298-6167 or visit the business’s Facebook page by clicking here.

Holley basketball will raise money for Children’s Hospital at Strong

Posted 30 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Press release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – Please join the Holley Girls Basketball teams on Friday 5:30 to 9 p.m. (JV game starts at 5:30 p.m. and varsity will begin around 7:15 p.m.) at the Holley High School Gymnasium for the Second Annual Fight Against Cancer Fundraiser and Basketball Game.

All of the money raised will go directly to the More Than a Game Foundation at the Golisano’s Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. The More Than a Game Foundation helps support children and their families who are battling cancer.

Last year, Holley raised $2,700 with from 30 gift baskets, a grand prize raffle, a 50/50 drawing and the half-court shooting contest.

This year, Holley will be holding a Chinese auction for gift baskets. We will also be having a 50/50 raffle, raffling off two grand prizes and having another half court shooting contest.

The grand prizes include apair of Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins tickets, a restaurant gift card and an authentic Ryan Miller Jersey. The Holley Teachers Association and teacher Julie Wantuck donated the Grand Prize of thetwo Sabres tickets and the Ryan Miller jersey for the fundraiser. The second grand prize is an Ultimate Rochester Sports Fan Basket (which includes four tickets to each of the Rochester Rhinos, RazorSharks, Lancers, Knighthawks and WNY Flash games).

The event Friday is being coordinated by Assistant Principal Dan Courtney; Justin Tese, varsity girls basketball coach; Kristina Mack, JV girls basketball coach; and Mark Thomas, girls modified basketball coach.