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Month: January 2015

Harsh cold, winter storm in forecast

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers  – A snow-covered tractor is pictured next to an apple orchard on Riches Corners Road in Albion today.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch from Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon, when 7 inches or more of snow could fall in Orleans, Genesee, Niagara and northern Erie counties.

The Weather Service warns there will be heavy snow and blowing snow, resulting in snow-covered road and poor visibility, creating hazardous driving conditions.

The temperature is forecast for a high of 17 on Sunday with temperatures falling to -2 overnight with a wind chill at -20 degrees. The temperature is forecast for a high at 10 degrees on Monday with a low of -3.

Some cattle are out in a field along Route 237 this morning in Clarendon.

DOT will discuss plans to improve Route 531

Staff Reports Posted 31 January 2015 at 12:00 am

State decides against extending expressway westward towards Orleans County

SPENCERPORT – The State Department of Transportation will have a public hearing on Thursday at Spencerport High School to discuss its plan to improve the safety of the Route 531 terminus.

The DOT estimates it will cost $14.2 million to upgrade the current terminus at Route 36. The project won’t extend the expressway west towards Orleans County.

There will be an informal open house on Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Spencerport High School cafeteria area. Project displays will be staffed by the project team to describe the status of the project and collect public input.

A formal public hearing will start at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. A short presentation will outline the alternatives that were studied for the project including engineering, traffic, environmental, and right-of-way aspects and the basis for selecting the preferred alternative. Oral comments will be recorded and written comments will be received.

This project is a direct result of the Route 531 Extension Study that was concluded in 2009, DOT officials said. It was determined that the expressway would not be extended and Route 31 would not be widened.

However, the information collected during the study indicated that spot improvements to improve safety and reduce congestion at the existing Route 531 terminus as well as along the Route 31 corridor.

Since this new project was initiated to address the needs at the terminus, the DOT has looked at several possible alternatives and measured them against the purpose and need statement. Each involves a significant change to how the intersection at Route 531/36 and 31 operates today.

The preferred design alternative consists of a conventional four-legged, at-grade, signalized intersection at Route 531 and Route 36. The Route 531 to Route 31 transition would be just south of existing Route 31, along the existing eastbound on-ramp.

Route 531 would connect directly to Route 31 and would transition from a four-lane expressway to a two-lane rural arterial west of Route 36. The main through movement that currently turns right onto Route 36, then left at the proceeding Route 31 / Route 36 signalized intersection would continue straight along Route 531 to Route 31.

Route 31 would be widened to add a center median to separate the eastbound and westbound travel lanes from where the “new” Route 531 lanes tie into Route 31 all the way to just east of Gallup Road. Former Route 31 would be transformed to a cul-de-sac approximately 2,000 feet west of Route 36, which would continue to provide access to the residential homes located on the north side of Route 31. A continuous two-way left turn lane between Gallup Road west towards Salmon Creek Road would be provided to ease travel at intersections.

The DOT expects to open construction bids in the summer 2016, with construction to start that fall and be complete in the fall 2017.

For more information on the project, including renderings of the site improvements, click here.

Writer is grateful for help after car accident

Posted 31 January 2015 at 12:00 am


On Thursday night I had an automobile accident. It was the first major accident in my 40-plus years of driving. I encountered a very slippery road and despite reduced speed and early breaking I slid through an intersection and a ditch and landed in some trees!

The blow was significant enough to blow out the driver door window into me! I was stunned and quite upset as my car is one month shy of a year of ownership.

The very first person to help was a town of Shelby snowplow operator. He was concerned enough to inquire as to my well being and if I needed to call for help. I assured him I was OK and had a cell phone. I called 911 and was connected to Niagara County, who got Orleans on the line for me.

A wrecker from Lyons Collision in Medina was dispatched, as well as law enforcement. I called my wife and asked her to come to the scene to take me home after everything was properly settled.

Lyons arrived first with a tow and flat bed. The drivers had to wait for law enforcement before they could do anything. However, their concern about injuries and my comfort was outstanding.

Soon, a State Trooper arrived. I actually was a little afraid, as they have a reputation for toughness. Trooper Radford was extremely professional and very compassionate. He brought my wife to the vehicle and let her listen to all his instructions and questions, as well as being safe and warm. He saw no wrongdoing on my part and issued an accident report.

I went to Lyons Collision on Friday morning to clean out my car and authorize an estimate and arrange for my insurance company to deal with them. I can only say that I was treated very well. They are the best to if you need help after an accident.

Bottom line, we have great residents in Orleans County that care for others! If I had to have an accident, I am glad it was at home! Thanks to all who offered help, including some other passersby!

Dayton Hausman

Many musicians join for Burlison scholarship benefit

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2015 at 12:00 am

About 600 attend concert at Albion Middle School

Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Nearly 20 musical acts performed on Friday night in a concert for the Wayne A. Burlison Memorial Scholarship. Burlison was an active member in several groups at the school district and also with community bands.

The top photo shows Albion native Travis Klossner, a member of The Hit Men in Rochester. Burlison performed in the group and played many different instruments for the band, which is popular at many local parades.

Burlison was 36 when he died from colon cancer last March 26. He was an elementary band teacher at Albion, and also worked with the marching band, jazz ensemble and other musical groups.

“He was very much loved and involved in a lot of things,” High School band director Mike Thaine told about 600 people who attended the concert. “This is a celebration of music in our schools and Wayne’s legacy was a love for music.”

An ensemble from the marching band, including Riley Seielstad on saxophone, performed early in the concert. The drum majors include Char Olick, left, and Meredith Patterson.

Burlison was a member of the Mark Time Marchers based in Churchville. Wayne wrote several of the band’s parade songs. His brother-in-law Bob Pastecki is the group’s leader.

Retired Albion instrumental teacher Mike Grammatico plays in a saxophone duet with his grandson Nate Grammatico, one of Burlison’s students.

Burlison was a member of the praise band at the Albion Free Methodist Church. Tom Smith and Linda Logan sing one of Burlison’s favorite songs, “Beautiful Things.”

Karen Conn (right), a music teacher and music therapist at the school, performs with her daughter Shannon Vanderlaan, a 2011 Albion grad and oboe major at The College of Saint Rose in Albany.

Albion music teachers perform in a jazz combo in this photo taken from the side of the stage. The group includes, from left: Greg Martillotta on drums, Lindsey Fix, Mike Thaine and Gary Simboli.

Megan Zambito, an elementary vocal teacher, and retired Albion teacher Alec Sherman sing, “Somewhere Out There.”

The Albion Alumni Foundation will manage the Burilson scholarship. The group is working to raise $10,000 to endow the scholarship. Another fund-raiser will be March 28 and includes another passion of Burlison’s: fitness.

The Albion Running Club is planning the “Run for Wayne” that will cover 3.17 miles and is open to walkers and runners. (A shorter course will also be available.) For more information, click here.

Raiders, Seahorses set pace at N-O boys All-League swim meet

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Austin Brown won the 100 butterfly at today’s boys Niagara-Orleans All-League Individual Swim Championships at Newfane.

Barker captured first place in five events and Medina in three at the annual Niagara-Orleans League Boys Individual Swim Championships held this afternoon at Newfane.

Barker’s Casey Webb was a double winner in the 100 freestyle (:50.33) and 200 freestyle (1:55.58) events while Collin Webb captured the 50 freestyle (:23.49) for the Raiders.

Barker also had the foursome of Casey Webb, Collin Webb, Andrew Jenks and Alex Goodlander team up to win both the 200 freestyle relay (1:34.15) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:37.55).

Medina had Austin Brown win the 100 butterfly (1:01.60) and Chase Pecoraro the 100 backstroke (1:05.18).

Brown and Pecoraro also teamed up with Kristian Snyder and Austin Heil to earn the Seahorses a victory in the 200 medley relay (1:48.94).

Medina’s Chase Pecoraro won the 100 backstroke.

Newfane’s Andrew Hamelink was a double winner in the 200 individual medley (2:15.05) and the 500 free (5:21.18) while Roy-Hart’s Tanner Rees won the 100 breaststroke (1:08.21).

Allbion’s Morgan Seielstad finished second in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events as did Rees in the individual medley, Collin Webb in the 100 free, Goodlander in the backstroke, Snyder in the breaststroke, Roy-Hart’s Ray Sack in the butterfly and Roy-Hart’s Nathan Miskoll in the 50 free.

Boys Basketball

Wilson 38, Akron 36
Front-running Wilson survived a close call by edging past host Akron 38-36 this afternoon to stay perfect at 8-0 in Niagara-Orlrans League boys basketball competition.

Kyle Bradley scored 18 and Joseph Littere 11 to set the pace for Wilson which broke way from a 13-13 halftime deadlock with a 14-6 third period scoring edge.

Gates Abrams scored 12 for Akron which slips to 3-4.

Scouts find ways for winter fun

Contributed Story Posted 31 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Provided photos

The Iroquois Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America held its annual Cub Winter Fun Day on Jan. 17 at Letchworth Park’s Trailside Lodge.

There was a snowball throw, Iditarod race, nugget run, a tug of war, tube race and other events.

Pack 3062 from Holley placed in all seven competitions with one first place, two second place ribbons and four third place ribbons.

Pictured include, front row, from left: Lilly Moore, Gabe Lindsay, Tyler Moore, Damian Frazier, Miguel Pulcino, Ethan Gonzalez, Dawson Arnold and Braden Read.

Back row: John Patt, Hunter Smith, Ronald Thorn, John Kuhls and new Cubmaster Wayne Thorn.

Cub Scouts in Medina in Pack 28 and 35 had fun in their annual Pinewood Derby today at the United Methodist Church.

Albion, Medina, Barker/Roy-Hart matmen earn N-O titles

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Newfane repeats as team champion

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Seven local grapplers earned titles at today’s Niagara-Orleans All-League Tournament at Newfane. In front are Collin Anderson and DJ Gardner of Barker/Roy-Hart. In back are Joe Velez of Medina along with Cade Aina, Blake Aina and Preston Flugel of Albion and Brennen Callara of Medina.

Three Albion, two Medina and two Barker/Roy-Hart wrestlers captured titles at the annual Niagara-Orleans All-League Tournament held today at Newfane.

Albion’s champions include Cade Aina (99), Preston Flugel (106) and Blake Aina (138).

“Interestingly both of their fathers also wrestled for me and were All-League meet place finishers,” said Albion Coach Keith Piccirilli in mentioning Tony Aina and Eric Flugel.

Albion’s Preston Flugel (106) works toward a win in the finals over Akron’s Hunter Oldenski.

Medina’s winners were repeat champion Brennen Callara (113) and Joe Velez (120) who also earned the tourney’s Most Valuable Wrestler award.

Barker/Roy-Hart’s champions were DJ Gardner (152) and Collin Anderson (285).

Medina’s Joe Velez (120) who earned the Most Valuable Wrestler honors works toward a title bout win over Brent Bachman of Barker/Roy-Hart.

Undefeated (5-0) regular season leader Newfane romped to the team title to lock up a second straight N-O championship. The Panthers garnered a total of 279.5 points which was nearly 100 more than runner-up Akron with 182. Barker/Roy-Hart finished third with 146 followed by Albion 120.5, Medina 114 and Wilson 86.

Albion’s Blake Aina (138) in route to a title bout win over Ryan Ulrich of Barker/Roy-Hart.

Newfane had a quartet of champions including repeat winners Paul Dunbar (145) and Jake Kubala (182) along with Adam Nowicki (160) and Cyrus Simmons (171).

Rounding out the list of champions are Matty Fiebelkorn (126) and Robbie PeQueen (132) from Akron and Wilson’s Dylan Thompson-Cox (220).

Cade Aina pinned Terrell Atkins of Newfane in 1:52 in his championship match after also pinning Colby Petrie of Medina in 4:49 in the semifinals.

DJ Gardner of Barker/Roy-Hart works toward a title win over Akron’s Jacob Sarow.

Flugel decisioned Hunter Oldenski of Akron 9-3 in the finals after decisioning Aaron Miller of Barker/Roy-Hart 6-3 in the semifinals.

Blake Aina decisioned Ryan Ulrich of Barker/Roy-Hart 4-1 in his title bout after notching a 15-0 technical fall win over Jokob Lojeck of Akron in the semis.

Callara pinned Zach Brown of Newfane in 4:51 in the finals after pinning Jordan Wolcott of Albion in 2:38 in the semis.

Barker/Roy-Hart’s Collin Anderson (285) in route to a win in the finals over Medina’s Kalvin Packer.

Velez edged defending champion Brent Bachman of Barker/Roy-Hart 4-2 in the championship bout after decisioning Julian Nixon of Newfane 9-3 in the semifinals.

Gardner blanked Jacob Sarow of Akron 3-0 in the finals after scoring a 9-0 major decision win over Tyler Simmons of Newfane in the semifinals.

Anderson nipped Kalvin Packer of Medina 2-1 in overtime in his title bout after blanking his Barker/Roy-hart teammate Sam Dauphin 4-0 in the semifinals.

Albion’s Cade Aina (99) works toward a title bout win over Newfane’s Terrell Atkins.

The other title bouts saw Fiebelkorn pin Charles Johnstone of Newfane in 2:33; PeQueen decision Nate O’Lay of Newfane 16-9; Dunbar decision Aaron Burnside of Albion 12-5; Nowicki decision Joe Nolan of Barker/Roy-Hart 11-0; Simmons decision Ethan PeQueen of Akron 11-0; Kubala pin Reed Greiner of Akron in 2:30 and Thompson pin Chris Johnstone of Newfane in 5:25.

Medina’s Brennen Callara in route to earning a second straight N-O championship with a win over Newfane’s Zach Brown.

GCC says it’s committed to Orleans, GLOW region

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – James Sunser, president of Genesee Community College, addresses the Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday. There are nearly 1,000 GCC students from Orleans County currently enrolled in courses.

ALBION – Genesee Community College is adding new courses that better fit employment needs in the community and the college will also build two new structures to improve services for students, GCC President James Sunser told Orleans County officials this week.

He provided some data on GCC’s reach into Orleans County. The college has 959 students from Orleans, including 164 at the Albion campus center and another 100 at the Medina center. There are 427 high school students in Orleans County taking GCC classes.

The college has a $169.1 million economic impact in the four-county GLOW region, including $25.6 million in Orleans County, Sunser said at Wednesday’s County Legislature meeting.

This spring GCC expects to start site work on two new buildings at the main campus in Batavia. The college is also working to create a scholarship endowment for students in Orleans County.

“There’s a lot going on,” Sunser said. “It’s a very exciting time.”

Renderings courtesy of GCC – The proposed Student Success Center would provide a one-stop destination for students and first-time visitors to GCC, and “second-career” students.

The two new buildings will cost about $20 million to build with the state contributing $10 million and Genesee County $7 million. The GCC Foundation has raised $4 million towards a $5 million goal that includes the capitol projects and scholarships.

The building projects include a 9,000-square-foot “Student Success Center” and 43,000-square-foot “College and Community Event Center.”

The Student Success Center will include student support services to boost student achievement and retention, Sunser said. The vacated space for some of these services at the William W. Stuart Forum will be renovated for classrooms.

The Student Success Center will also help alumni with job placements and to look at job retraining possibilities.

The College and Community Event Center will include a field house that will be available for conferences and trade shows.

The new “College and Community Event Center” will be next to the college’s athletic fields. The building would include classrooms, coaching facilities, food service facilities as well as a wellness center.

The building would have public floor space that could be used for student gatherings, trade shows, community exhibitions, athletic competitions and charitable events.

Sunser said the Orleans County community is welcome to help with the fund-raising towards the capitol projects and scholarships. There will be a kickoff campaign for Orleans County from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 at The Village Inn, 14369 Ridge Rd. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, call 343-0055 x 6244 or email

Sunser noted the college has developed several new degree programs in response to business needs in the community. About 25 students graduate each year in the vet tech program and they have a high placement rate, he said.

Other new degrees include programs in food processing, agri-business, heath sciences, STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) initiatives, expanded tourism and hospitality, and enhanced mathematics.

GCC and Erie Community College are partnering on a new degree with nanotechnology.

Medina girls roll past Global Concepts

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Taking charge with big second quarter scoring burst, Medina romped to 54-17 victory over host Global Concepts this evening in a non league girls basketball game.

Leading 8-4 after one period, Medina outscored Global 22-4 in the decisive second quarter to open up a commanding 30-8 advantage at the half. The Mustangs then used a 15-4 third period scoring edge for a 45-12 lead to put a lock on the victory.

Molley Gross scored a game high 17 points, Rowan Hamner 12 and Maddy Winters 10 to lead Medina as Nicole Blount added 5 and Emily Kams, Holly Heil and Davina Birch 2 each.

Winters also grabbed off 10 rebounds as Gross and Hamner both had 9.

Bishop Kearney 75, Albion 41

Building up a commanding 45-20 halftime advantage, Bishop Kearney went on to defeat host Albion 75-41 this evening in a non league game.

Chanyce Powell scored 17 and Justice Nauden 10 for Albion.

Byron-Bergen 53, Lyndonville 34

Byron-Bergion built up a 23-14 halftime lead in route to posting a 53-34 victory over visiting Lyndonville in a Genesee Region League game.

Aubrey Lewis scored 14, Morgan Hungerford 11, Mackenzie Muck 5 and Leann Balcerzak 4 for Lyndonville.

Notre Dame 46, Holley 24

Roaring out to a 28-5 lead at the half, Notre Dame went on to defeat visiting Holley 46-24 in a G-R contest.

Jade Underwood had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Sam Barniak 10 points and 7 rebounds for Holley.

2 from local BOCES celebrated by Orleans, Niagara officials

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Dr. Clark Godshall named NYS superintendent of the year in 2014; Becky Albright praised as board president

Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Legislators from Orleans and Niagara counties presented “Special Recognition Awards” to two leaders of the Orleans-Niagara BOCES.

In the top photo, Dr. Clark Godshall is congratulated for being named the 2014 New York State School Superintendent of the Year by the New York State Council of School Superintendents. He is shaking hands with David Godfrey, a Niagara County legislator.

Godshall has served as the District Superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services for the past 15 years. He started with the local BOCES 25 years ago and served as assistant superintendent for 10 years. He started his career as a science teacher at Hilton.

The Orleans/Niagara BOCES serves 38,000 students. It is consistently ranked as one of the top BOCES in the state.

The two-county Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance praised Godshall on Wednesday for his distinction in winning the award.

“You are a nationally recognized leader, an advocate for all students, and an expert on educational service agencies, school finance, and effective school district governance,” according to the certificate signed by Orleans County legislators David Callard, Lynne Johnson, William Eick and Ken DeRoller, and Niagara County legislators William Ross, David Godfrey, John Syracuse and Michael Hill.

The two counties also recognized Becky Albright, president of the board for the Orleans/Niagara BOCES. Albright, second from left, was recently honored by the Western New York Education Service Council Award winner.

Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller reads the certificate while Godfrey is pictured at far right.

“As the BOCES board president you have shown extraordinary commitment to the district and community, excellent leadership, and many achievements both in and outside of the workplace,” legislators said. “You have inspired others around you and therefore are a role model to our district and community. The positive impact of your efforts is widespread and long-lasting.”