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Month: October 2014

Community should ask about direction at Hoag Library

Posted 31 October 2014 at 12:00 am


The Hoag Library is a pillar of the community and symbolic for learning and developing. I am writing to inform the community at large who is served by the Hoag Library about some basic facts of interest for citizens and, hopefully, patrons of the library.

The Hoag Library is chartered as a “Cooperative” library, also known as a Free Association Library. This designation is one of three different types of public libraries allowed under New York State law. The key feature of this type of library is independence.

As an association, the Hoag Library is owned and managed by a non-profit organization, chartered by the New York State Board of Education, not by a municipal government or school district. Further information can be found on the New York State library website (click here).

Elected members of the Hoag Library Board of Trustees should be able to address and answer inquiries about the bylaws of this cooperative association and the authority by which they oversee the Hoag Library, including personnel and budget decisions.

While voters give elected officials the privilege to serve the community and represent the people, the Board of Trustees has an obligation to the community to be transparent in their governance and be held accountable to all the citizens and the community in which they serve.

Five staff members, including the director, have been terminated within the past six months. The experience, stability and knowledge of this tenured staff spanned 130 years. They were loyal to their customers, directors and Board of Trustees (current and previous) and certainly were familiar and helpful to any patron who visited the library. They will be missed by many, and a void of institutional knowledge and history is now gone. My challenge to you is “who is courageous enough to ask, ‘Why?'”

Complacency is the act of being pleased and satisfied with decisions that are being made for you and not wanting to make them better. If you say nothing with these decisions, then you are in silent agreement with the decisions.

If citizens are not satisfied with the actions of the Board, they are encouraged to attend the Hoag Library Board of Trustees meetings, which are held the second Wednesday of every month and provide their public comments. The minutes of these meetings are published on the library website (click here).

The bottom line is that because the Hoag Library is an association library, taxpayers can vote specifically to support the library to best serve the community. Is the Board listening to you and are they hearing your concerns and opinions? Is the Board taking the library in the direction that best serves this community? Is there transparency in their governance, and are they held accountable for their actions?

All Hoag Library Board of Trustees meetings are open to the public. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the library. The next scheduled meeting is Nov. 12.

Mary Anne Braunbach
Braunbach is a former library trustee and is currently president of the Friends of the Library.

Medina increases ambulance mileage rates

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

Village adds $50 out-of-district surcharge

MEDINA – It will cost more to be transported in Medina ambulance and calls outside western Orleans County will soon be assessed a $50 out-of-district surcharge.

The Village Board approved raising the mileage rate for ambulance transports from $20 to $30. Medina had been on the low end for mileage rates and is now in the middle of the pack, Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich told the Village Board.

“We’re still at a respectable level,” he said.

The Fire Department has seen its calls increase outside its contract area – the Village of Medina and towns of Shelby, Yates and Ridgeway. Zinkievich said the Medina ambulance responds to calls in Albion and central Orleans, and Genesee and Niagara counties. Some ambulance squads will include surcharges for up to $100 for out-of-district work.

Zinkievich said $100 may be too high to start with. He suggested $50 and the Village Board agreed.

Hotel would be far better in heart of Medina

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


Courtesy of Joseph Cardone – This rendering shows how the Medina Theatre and a neighboring warehouse could be transformed into a hotel and conference center on Main Street next to the railroad tracks.

MEDINA – A report from a consultant says a hotel could make money and be sustainable in Medina. That’s the good news for our county, which loses out on longer stays from visitors. Orleans County actually ranks dead last among the 62 counties in the state for visitor spending.

Many of our visitors are day-trippers, who make a drive out and then head back, often choosing to stay in hotels in Batavia. That deprives Orleans County and our businesses of the full economic impact of these guests.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency has been working to see if a hotel is sustainable in the county. The EDA hired Interim Hospitality Consultants to do a feasibility study for a new hotel in Medina. The firm, led by Edward Xanders, concluded a small hotel with 41 to 49 rooms would be profitable with at least an average daily occupancy rate of 60 percent.

That’s the good news.

The EDA has warmed up to a new chain, Cobblestone Inn and Suites, for the project that will need local investors. The EDA has land on Route 31A across from GCC in an industrial park. That spot would be prime for the project, EDA officials said during a board meeting on Oct. 10.

A chain motel might be an ideal fit for a community with not much of an entity, or for a Thruway stop. But it seems a poor choice for a place like Medina, which is seeing a rebound in its historic business district because it feels anti-chain with a distinctive collection of buildings and merchants. Visitors like Medina’s sense of place. It feels like a Norman Rockwell painting.

I think the chain model on the edge of town is the worst choice for the project and I hope local investors will steer the hotel to the downtown area. If investors go with the chain model it could find a home in the historic district, so more businesses could benefit from the visitors who would no doubt like to go for a walk in the downtown and along the canal, rather than by cornfields on 31A.

If the investors decide to follow the Cobblestone chain model, it seems to me the large parking lot across from the Post Office and next to the R.H. Newell building would work for the project, putting it right in the heart of the downtown.

If that spot isn’t quite right, the Snappy manufacturing site on Commercial Street along the canal might be the best choice. The investors could acquire the property, which is for sale, demolish it and put up the chain hotel. The visitors would be next to the historic Erie Canal, a lift bridge and lots of independent merchants.

I thought those might be the best options for a downtown location, but then Joe Cardone met with the Medina Business Association and presented renderings of hotel and conference center on Main Street. The Cardone family has owned the historic Medina theatre for decades and upgraded the site last year, opening it for events.

Photo by Tom Rivers – This warehouse could be converted into a hotel, giving Medina a distinctive place for visitors to stay in a historic district.

It is part of a block of big Medina sandstone buildings, including a giant warehouse along the railroad tracks. Cardone said the site is beyond shovel ready. It’s “hammer ready,” he told the Business Association.

Cardone envisions a shared entryway between the two buildings. He believes the conference center and hotel would drive traffic for each other, and other downtown businesses.

“They would be demand generators,” he said. “The conference center would help with the success and occupancy of the hotel.”

Those dominant Medina sandstone buildings would give the community a one-of-a-kind hotel and conference center that is sure to make a stronger impression on visitors than a cookie-cutter chain hotel. Cardone said the warehouse, owned by the Fuller family, is a 20,000-square-foot four-story site that could be carved up into hotel rooms.

“I have a keen interest in what’s best for the village and this would be a wonderful asset,” Cardone told the Orleans Hub. “There would be a big ripple effect for businesses. It merits looking into.”

There is an existing large parking lot behind the buildings and there is also room to expand.

The sandstone buildings happen to be in a state and national historic district, making renovations eligible for 40 percent in tax credits. Developers have used those credits to push through renovations of hotels at historic sites in Buffalo.

A project at the Cardone and Fuller buildings would use existing structures, solid buildings that can’t be duplicated by today’s build-it-in-a-hurry chain stores. And the 40 percent in tax credits is a major financial incentive.

Let’s say it cost $4 million to turn the Cardone and Fuller sites into a first-class hotel and conference center (I don’t think there are any cost estimates yet), the tax credits would turn that into a $2.4 million project. If it’s a $5 million project, the tax credits would make it $3 million. An $8 million project would be $4.8 million.

A chain hotel isn’t eligible for those tax benefits.

The reduced costs through tax credits is a major reason why the developers have been renovating some of the grand old buildings in Buffalo. And those projects have been a big part of the renaissance in Buffalo. It could do the same for Medina.

Car show raises $1,100 for Hospice

Posted 31 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Becky Karls, director for Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Home, presents a check for $1,100 today to Patty Leight, an administrative assistant for Hospice of Orleans.

Karls organized a car show on Sept. 28 with classic cars, food and raffle tickets. The event topped the $1,000 raised a year ago in the debut car show.

“Next year we’ll shoot for even more,” Karls said.

CRFS employees don costumes for Halloween

Staff Reports Posted 31 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Provided Photos

ALBION – Orleans Hub put a call out for photos of workplaces dressed up for Halloween. Claims Recovery Financial Services in Albion sent in these two.

In the top photo, this group is dressed up in characters from Toy Story, including Jennifer Farrington as Jessie the Cowgirl, Linda Coots as Woody, Jasmine Mosele as Buzz Lightyear, and Amanda Clemons as Mrs. Potato Head.

In this picture, Corina DeFilipps is Garth Algar, Candace Hackenberg is Wayne Campbell, Barb Wroblewski is a nerd, and Hannah Kneeppel is Abby Scuito.

Albion’s painted benches move indoors for winter

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

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The 10 painted benches on Albion’s Main Street have moved inside for the cold weather months. They will be back out in the spring with two new benches.

The benches have been moved indoors at Five Star Bank, Hoag Library and the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

The photo above at Five Star shows a cobblestone themed bench by Arthur Barnes and one of Grace Bedell and Abraham Lincoln by Peter Loran. Bedell is the Albion girl who wrote a letter to Lincoln, urging him to grow a beard. He took her advice.

Lady Eagles face Cal-Mum tonight in title game rematch

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

Looking to avenge a narrow 1-0 loss in last year’s final, No. 2 seed Kendall will take on No. 1 Caledonia-Mumford for the Section V Class CC championship at 7:30 this evening at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School.

Cal-Mum, which brings a perfect 18-0 season record into the title contest, has defeated Alexander 3-0 in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Geneseo 3-1 in the semifinals.

Kendall, which is at 16-1-1, advanced to the championship game by blanking No. 7 Campbell-Savona 6-0 in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Warsaw 3-0 in the semis.

Cal-Mum has been led offensively this season by the trio of Jessica Garland (18 goals, 12 assists), Rachel Hume (15 goals, 5 assists) and Adrianna Molisani (10 goals, 9 assists).

Maya Rutland has spearheaded the Kendall attack with 27 goals and 5 assists. Taylor ReQua has had 11 goals and 15 assists, Taylor Rutland 5 goals and 7 assists and Elizabeth Rath 3 goals and 3 assists for the Lady Eagles.

“It will be a tough matchup,” said Kendall Coach Pam Beres, “The key will be if we can possess the ball like we did against Warsaw and keep control in the attacking third. We know we have our work cut out for us.”

Roy-Hart’s Bower honored

Roy-Hart goalie Ashley Bower is being honored as one of WKBW-TV’s Super Seven Athletes of the Week Countdown for her 16 save shutout performance in the Lady Rams sectional upset win over No. 3 seed Tonawanda last week. The Countdown will air at 5:45 and 11:20 this evening.

Bear spotted crossing 31 in Albion

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

Photo by David Rotoli

ALBION – A black bear created a stir on Route 31 on Thursday afternoon when it crossed the road heading north, about a half mile east of Riches Corners Road.

David Rotoli and his wife Shari just happened to be driving by at about 5:30. They and other motorists pulled over to take pictures.

“It meandered across the road,” Mrs. Rotoli said. “It was awesome.”

There have been numerous bear sightings in the county this year, but this may be the closest to the village.

People should be cautious if they see the bear. A bear isn’t expected to attack, but if it feels cornered or threatened, it could be aggressive, said Tom Roster, manager of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Workplaces dress up for Halloween

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

Photos by Tom Rivers

Staff at The Village of Orleans are dressed in many different costumes today including a Raggedy Ann Doll, The Stay Puft Marshmallow, Little Bo Peep, a werewolf and other characters. William Gillick, the nurse home administrator, is dressed as a Yankees fan. He is seating on an original seat from Yankee Stadium.

The group includes, front kneeling or seated, from left: Kelly Daigler, Rachel Drew, Tanya Foster, William Gillick and Nikole Fix.

Back row: Teiona Kemp, Ondrea Pate, Tab Pearce, Paul Parsons, Sandy Webster, Tara Churchfield, Debra Albertson, Deb Donnelly and Sue Williams.

The staff at the Five Star Bank in Albion also kept up a tradition of dressing up for Halloween. They all wore football jerseys today. Jamie Bennett, the assistant manager, is wearing a Brett Favre jersey from when he played for the Atlanta Falcons and Susan Plummer, a teller, is wearing a jersey from LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers.

Any other workplaces with employees dressed up for Halloween can send pictures to

Youth football champs to be crowned Sat.

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

Champions will be crowned in three divisions as the Niagara Orleans Football Association holds its playoff finals Saturday at Medina’s Vets Park.

The Mini Division final will be held at 11 a.m. matching top seeded Albion (9-0) against No. 2 Oakfield/Elba (8-1). Albion advanced to the title round by nipping the Medna Colts 20-13 last weekend in the semifinals.

At 2 p.m. the JV Division final will have No. 1 Akron (9-0) vs. No. 2 Medina (8-1). The Medina Colts gained a berth in the finals by blanking Newfane 26-0 in the semis last weekend.

Finally, the Varsity Division final at 5 p.m. will have No. 1 Tri Town (8-1) vs. No. 3 Oakfield/Elba (7-2).