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Month: February 2014

Barker Raider cagers have a special title season

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – Members of Barker’s undefeated Niagara-Orleans League championship team include, in front Tristan Payne, Sean Benoit and Mitch Luckman. In the middle row are Tyler Dent, Tanner Gregoire, Jarid Worthington and Josh Mead. In the back row are Coach Dave Carson, Hayden Gooding, Christopher Sweeney, Bryce Moeller, Jacob Haight, Thomas Callaghan and Assistant Coach Shane Phillips.

Led by a quartet of multi-year starters, Barker enjoyed its best basketball season in over 35 years as the Raiders captured the Niagara-Orleans League championship in route to compiling a perfect 18-0 regular season record.

Senior forward Jacob Haight, a four-year starter, headed that veteran group which also included senior guard Mitch Luckman, a three year starter, along with senior center Bryce Moeller and junior guard Christopher Sweeney, both two year starters.

“To go 18-0 is something special and is a great compliment to our kids and to win the league was absolutely special,” said Barker Coach Dave Carson. “It really was a special season.”

Haight, who became Barker’s career scoring leader during the season, scored total of 361 points (18.0 average) and grabbed off 200 rebounds (10.0 ave.). He also had 85 steals, 84 assists and 37 blocks.

Luckman had 289 points (14.4 ave.), 143 assists, 85 rebounds and 42 steals; Moeller 193 points (9.6 ave.), 144 rebounds, 76 blocks, 26 steals and 25 assists and Sweeney 194 points (9.7 ave.), 87 rebounds, 45 steals and 30 assists.

Senior Hayden Gooding rounded out the starting quintet for Barker which also got steady efforts from a number of role players including seniors Tyler Dent and Jarid Worthington and juniors Joshua Mead, Tristan Payne, Tanner Gregorio, Thomas Callaghan and Sean Benoit.

“Everyone knew their role and really filled them well,” said Carson.

Barker clinched at least a tie for the school’s first title since 1978 with a narrow 42-39 win over visiting Medina, which was the Raiders closest call during the N-O campaign.

Barker then locked up the N-O championship with a 64-34 win over Wilson and capped off the perfect 14-0 league season with road victories at Roy-Hart (83-46) and Albion (81-52).

“This group played together collectively as a unit, as a team. They really enjoyed it when that good pass or dish off led to a basket. They were just very unselfish and that was what got us the title and the 18-0 regular season,” said Carson. “In order to make a run like that you have to play as a team. This group just had such a good grasp of what was going on at both ends of the court. During timeouts we really fed off each other for information. They really have a heat understanding of the game.”

The title was the first since Barker shared the Genesee Region League Division 2 title in 1978 with Pavilion. And it was Barker’s first N-O championship since 1945 when the Raiders topped Wilson 33-16 in a playoff after the teams finished the regular season with identical 13-1 records.

“These kids have seen the other side when Barker wasn’t as good and was getting beat by 30 points,” said Carson. “They know that so they definitely had some fire this year. They were driven all season. They were a very confident group and they just knew this was supposed to happen. And they’ve been very successful in other sports so that helped with their confidence. It was an exciting group.”

Barker made it 19-0 by defeating Portville 77-38 in the quarterfinals of the Section VI Class C1 playoffs. However, the Raiders undefeated season and quest for the school’s first sectional title since 1972 was ended in the semifinal round by a 62-48 loss to Silver Creek.

Though they have met several times in the earlier rounds, it was the first semifinal round meeting between the schools since 1962 when Silver Creek downed Barker by a nearly identical score of 67-48 as George Carter, who went on to star at St. Bonaventure, led the Knights with 26 points.

“The season didn’t end like we would have liked but it was still a very special season,” Said Carson. “Winning the league and going 18-0 is something this group will have for the rest of their lives. It was a special season and to do it with a really nice group of kids made it very special.”

Class B2 final will be an all N-O contest

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Sunday’s Section VI Class B2 girls basketball championship game will be an all Niagara-Orleans League affair as top seeded Wilson and No. 6 Akron both scored semifinal round victories Thursday evening.

Wilson defeated Southwestern 33-27 as Emily Lasher scored 11 and Kaylee Stoelting and Allie Bubar 8 each.

Akron downed Falconer by a nearly identical margin of 34-27 as Tobi Abrams led the way with 11.

The title contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at Buffalo State.

Wilson defeated Akron twice during the regular season by scores of 43-28 and 39-13 in route to compiling a perfect 14-0 N-O title record.

Albion Faculty nips Troopers in benefit basketball game

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Charlie Croff puts up shot for the Albion faculty squad against Trooper Ward Wilson of the New York State Police team during this evening’s game at Albion High which benefits the Albion Middle School FFA.

With a large crowd on hand, the Albion faculty squad nipped the New York State Police Troopers team 60-59 this evening in a benefit basketball game at Albion High proceeds from which go to the Albion Middle School FFA.

The scoring of Charlie Croff led the way for the Albion faculty squad whose lineup also included Mark Hryvniak, Mike Jones, Chad Owen, Tim Archer, Brad Pritchard, Matt Brooks, Bruce Blanchard, Keith Akers, Brennan Meakin, Pat Uvenio, Jeff Radder, Eric Christianson, Brandon Burris and Lucian Price.

The lineup for the New York State Police squad included Investigators Angel Benitez-Santos, Michael Sims, Rick Noecker and Scott Mills; Lieutenants Kevin Reyes and Kurt Schmitt and Troopers Dan Hollands, Ryan Dulkiewicz, Kevin Bentley, Gary Radford, Kevin Jobity, Ward Wilson, Ryan Hadsall, Matt Luft and John Dycha.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Pat Uvenio puts up a shot for the Albion Faculty squad as Trooper Ryan Hadsall defends.

Tower expresses ‘guts and grief’ of community after Civil War

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos  by Tom Rivers – In the mid-1970s, the community launched a “Save The Tower” campaign to make repairs to the Civil War memorial. Here is one of the buttons that was used as a fund-raiser.

The tower at Mount Albion Cemetery was built as a memorial for the nearly 500 Civil War soldiers from the community who perished in the war.

Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin holds a memorial created for Major Gen. George Gordon Meade. Residents in the Civil War era seemed obsessed with death and mourning, Lattin said.

ALBION – Other communities put obelisks or bronze statues of soldiers on blocks in the town square as memorials to the men who died in the Civil War.

Orleans County considered putting a monument on the Courthouse Lawn as a memorial to the nearly 500 people who died in the war from Orleans. The monument probably would have been an obelisk, County Historian Bill Lattin said during a lecture Thursday at GCC.

But community leaders in the 1870s would settle on a different tribute and location. They opted to build a 68-foot-high tower at the highest point of Mount Albion Cemetery.

The Orleans County Monument Association raised $3,000 for the project. That left the tower about half done. It secured $2,000 more to finish the job. The tower was dedicated on July 4, 1876, the 100th anniversary of the country.

It was built 33 years after the cemetery opened. Mount Albion is a rural cemetery, designed in a park-like setting. Mount Albion was intended to be “a mansion for the dead,” Lattin said, quoting one of the cemetery leaders during a Sept. 7, 1843 dedication ceremony.

The tower was built in the Gothic Revival style. It fits the Victorian flavor of the cemetery. In that era, people were “obsessed with death,” Lattin said, due the heavy losses of the Civil War and the many infant deaths.

“They were obsessed with death because it was so commonplace,” Lattin told a packed room Thursday as part of GCC Civil War lecture series.

He showed artwork from the era that showed grieving widows and orphans at the graves of soldiers. Lattin showed a tear catcher, a long thin glass bottle that was used to catch and hold tears that would then be sprinkled on the grave of a loved one.

He showed a homemade memorial created for Maj. General George Gordon Meade. Lattin purchased it from an antique store. It includes Meade’s portrait surrounded by a circle of symbols, including grapes that represent Christ and a butterfly for the Resurrection.

After the Civil War, Orleans County residents needed to express their sorrow for the 463 who died from Orleans at a time when it had 23,000 people, about half the current population.

This blank ribbon was worn by a member of the Grand Army of the Republic to a funeral for a fellow GAR member.

The tower was built with Medina sandstone ashlars, which weren’t cut smoothly. That gave it a rough appearance. Inside the tower, the names of the dead were all carved in nine marble slabs.

The tower is more than a Medina sandstone marvel, a 68-foot-high landmark in a small town. The tower is a symbol and expression of “guts and grief,” Lattin said.

The war cut short the lives of nearly 500 people in Orleans, depriving families of husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

The families of the dead “suffered terrible unrelenting grief,” Lattin said.

The tower proved an attraction, drawing 1,000 people on many Sundays in the summer. They would climb to the observation deck.

About a hundred years after it was built, the community raised $20,000 to repair the tower. Lattin was one of the leaders of the “Save The Tower” effort, which included enthusiastic support from high school students. Lattin showed buttons and brochures from that effort, which culminated with the tower being rededicated on July 4, 1976.

He knows many romances have blossomed at the tower, which has been the site for many marriage proposals. Today, the tower may not be viewed as a symbol of grief.

“I think we can look at it as comforting,” he said.

Judge sets bail at $75K for man accused of selling cocaine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Orleans County Court Judge James Punch set bail at $75,000 for a Rochester man accused of selling cocaine in the village of Albion on Oct. 6.

Timothy Turner, 33, of Mount Read Boulevard was arraigned in court on Monday for criminal  possession and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Turner has a prior felony record and he hasn’t always shown up in court for scheduled appearances, Punch said when he set bail.

In other county court cases:

Lori Martinez, 46, of Park Avenue in Medina pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. She is accused of selling hydrocodone and another prescription narcotic on May 18. The prescriptions were prescribed to her.

She will be sentenced April 21 and could receive up to 2 ½ years in prison or a lesser sentence.

A Medina man was arraigned on three counts of both criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, as well as third-degree welfare fraud.

Stacy Bryan, 23, of West Avenue allegedly sold dextroamphetamines on three occasions. He profited from the sales and didn’t report the income while collecting welfare benefits, the district attorney’s office said.

A Medina resident was arraigned for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree.

Jason Fidanza, 41, of Slade Road allegedly sold hydrocodone and another prescription narcotic in Ridgeway on June 18.

OC Bar Association seeks coordinator for assigned counsel

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – When a resident can’t afford an attorney for criminal or family court, a judge in the case will often pick an attorney from the 50 on the county’s assigned counsel roster.

Judges need to make sure the attorneys don’t have any conflicts or past dealings with others involved in the case. Judges sometimes scramble, making several phone calls to find an attorney for a resident. Sometimes a judge will pick an attorney who happens to be in the courtroom.

The Orleans County Bar Association would like to see the county approve a part-time assigned counsel coordinator who would work with judges to find attorneys for cases. The coordinator could also ensure the residents meet income qualifications for indigent defense, and the coordinator could assess the quality of legal services in each case.

The coordinator of the program would make sure the cases are also rotated among the attorneys and that they follow consistent billing and reimbursement practices, said Shirley Gorman, chairwoman of the Bar Association’s assigned counsel committee.

The county spends about $600,000 a year through the public defender’s office and for assigned counsel, said Public Defender Sanford Church.

The state pays about $110,000 to $120,000 towards the cost. The state designates how its money should be used. A coordinator for assigned counsel is one of the functions that would be funded through the state Office of Indigent Legal Services. It has offered to pay for the coordinator for at least three years, Church said, as long as the County Legislature approves the position.

Church and Gorman presented the plan for a coordinator on Wednesday to the County Legislature, which said it would likely support the plan for more oversight with assigned counsel. Church and Gorman said the plan would match attorneys with clients sooner, and speed up the time their cases are in the court system.

The coordinator could also try to match the expertise of attorneys with the difficulty of each case, Gorman said.

“This is the best way to provide representation right away,” she told county legislators. “You have attorneys who show up right away who are prepared.”

Recco advances to state semis

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Lyndonville’s Tony Recco is in state semis

Surviving a marathon quarterfinal round match this afternoon, Lyndonville High junior Tony Recco (113) has advanced to the semifinals of the state wrestling championships being held at the Times Union Center in Albany.

Recco, who captured a state title in 2012, opened the competition with a quick pin over Taylor Benson of Red Hook (Section IX) in just 1:54.

However, the quarterfinals proved to be a bit of a tougher task as he outlasted Ryan Hetrick of Southwestern (Section VI) 2-1 in triple overtime.

“His first round was a fairly easy match but the quarterfinal was definitely a tough one,” said Lyndonville Coach Jeff Gress who noted that the match deciding point came on a penalty point as Hetrick was called for locked hands.”It was a taxing match for Tony but he kept working and it came out OK at the end.”

Recco, who is now 46-3 on the season, will face top seeded Derek Spann, a sophomore from Adirondack Section III) in the semifinals on Saturday. Spann registered pins in his first two matches.

The finals are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Newfane’s Nate Martin (145) has also advanced to the semifinals after registering victories by a major decision and a decision in his first two matches.

Akron’s Johnny Fiebelkorn (99) lost by a major decision in his opening round match.

Deep freeze continues in WNY

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Wind chill advisory issued as temps drop

March is two days away but Orleans County and Western New York are still in the hard grip of Old Man Winter.

Today will only reach a high of 15 degrees and temperature could fall to 1 below tonight, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a wind chill advisory, effective at noon today for Orleans and several WNY counties. The advisory lasts until 10 a.m. on Friday. Wind chills could reach 15 to 24 degrees below zero.

It’s also expected to snow 2 inches today across the Niagara frontier.

Tomorrow temperatures are forecast to peak at 13 degrees. Saturday it will warm up to a high of 35 degrees, according to the Weather Service.

Holley grad earns track honor at Allegheny College

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 27 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – Kristina Martin

Holley High graduate and Allegheny College senior Kristina Martin has earned the North Coast Athletic Conference Indoor Track Distance Runner of the Week honors for her performance at the recent Kent St. Tuneup.

Martin placed third in the 3,000 meter run at the Tuneup with a time of 10:21.63 which bettered her previous personal best by over 15 seconds.

In posting what is also the fourth fastest 3,000 time in the Allegheny program’s history, she was the top Division 3 finisher in the 52 runner field.

A two year team captain, Martin was also the top finisher for the Allegheny cross-country squad at four invitationals this past fall. She earned All North Coast Athletic Conference honors by placing ninth at the conference championships.

A History major, she is the daughter of Jeffrey and Clara Martin of Holley.

During her scholastic days at Holley, Martin earned four letters in track and two in cross-country.

Downtown Albion used to have a hotel

Posted 27 February 2014 at 12:00 am

By Bill Lattin
Orleans County Historian

In this picture from the 1930s we see the Exchange Hotel, which was located on Main Street in Albion.

Next to it was a barber shop and next to that building was the Liberty Diner. In the 1940s, these buildings were torn down. A gasoline station was built where the hotel was and a restaurant where the other two structures are in this picture.

The building to the far right was removed in the last few years. The land is now owned by the village and serves as a parking lot. The roof on the Presbyterian Church shows in the upper right corner.