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Month: March 2015

Raiders look for rebound season

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

Photo by Mike Wertman – Anchoring the lineup for the Barker baseball team this spring will be this veteran trio of Doug Bachman, Tanner Gregoire and Brad Wilson.

Led by a trio of All-League honorees, Barker is taking aim at improving upon last year’s 4-10 Niagara-Orleans baseball record.

Junior pitcher Brad Wilson and senior utility man Tanner Gregoire, who both earned second team N-O All-League honors, and senior second baseman/pitcher/catcher Doug Bachman, who received Honorable Mention, anchor the Raiders lineup.

Barker also returns varsity experience in junior Kyle Secore (utility), sophomore Jake Meister (first base) and freshman Collin Webb (outfield).

The Raiders small, underclassmen dominated roster also includes juniors Mike Snell (shortstop/pitcher) and Jared Ginther (outfield) along with sophomores Ed Wasnock (infield/pitcher) and Devon Mangan (catcher).

“We have good experience and we should be ok pitching which should keep us in games,” said Coach Rob Mucha. “It’s a small squad though so keeping everyone healthy will be key.”

Barker is scheduled to host Roy-Hart in the N-O opener on April 9.

Barker’s Schedule

April 1 – at Kendall, 12 p.m.
April 2 – Alexander, 12 p.m.
April 8 – Lyndonville, 4:30 p.m.
April 9 – Roy-Hart, 4:45 p.m.
April 10 – at Holley, 4:30 p.m.
April 13 – Wilson, 4:45 p.m.
April 15 – at Akron, 4:45 p.m.
April 17 – at Medina, 4:45 p.m.
April 20 – Newfane, 4:45 p.m.
April 22 – Albion, 4:45 p.m.
April 24 – at CSAT, 4:45 p.m.
April 29 – at Roy-Hart, 4:45 p.m.
May 1 – at Wilson, 4:45 p.m.
May 4 – Akron, 4:45 p.m.
May 6 – Medina, 4:45 p.m.
May 7 – at Newfane, 4:45 p.m.
May 11 – at Albion, 4:45 p.m.
May 13 – CSAT, 4:45 p.m.

State budget brings aid hikes for local districts

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

Photo by Tom Rivers – The Lyndonville Central School campus is pictured last week by the waterfalls near Route 63.

The numbers are in and they look good for local school districts. The state budget would give the five local school districts about $3 million more in operating aid, a 4.3 percent increase.

State-wide, the governor and legislative leaders agreed to 6.1 percent increase or $1.4 billion more to $23.5 billion in education aid.

The five local districts would get a combined $71,673,201 in operating aid, a $2,942,582 increase.

School leaders throughout the state have been waiting the past 10 weeks for school aid numbers. The governor typically includes those in the January budget proposal. State legislative leaders have historically bumped up the numbers from the governor.

Local school districts were penciling in 0 percent increases as part of their budget preparations. Local school budgets will be finalized in April, with the plans going before voters on May 19.

The districts in Orleans County all will see boosts in aid.

Here is a breakdown of the state aid for local school districts:

District 2014-15 2015-16 Increase
Albion $21,683,486 $22,466,950 $783,466 (3.6 %)
Holley $12,222,313 $12,791,971 $569,658 (4.7 %)
Kendall $8,729,604 $9,474,209 $744,605 (8.5 %)
Lyndonville $6,558,453 $6,895,703 $337,220 (5.1 %)
Medina $19,536,733 $20,044,368 $507,635 (2.6 %)
Orleans County $68,730,619 $71,673,201 $2,942,582 (4.3 %)

Source: NYS Division of the Budget

Medina would see about a half-million dollar increase in operating aid.

“We are pleased with the projection of state aid as we used very conservative estimates trying to plan for unknown revenue streams,” said Jeff Evoy, superintendent of Medina Central School.

The $337,220 increase for Lyndonville is good news, said Jason Smith, district superintendent.

“The district is pleased to see the state reduce the Gap Elimination Adjustment, and we are also pleased with our state aid increase,” Smith said. “We will work with our Board of Education to utilize this increase to reduce our reliance on reserves and explore ways to enhance our academic programs.”

An issue to be resolved in Albany is Cuomo’s controversial push to link the aid to revamped teacher evaluations. The governor wants 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to be tied to student performance on standardized tests. Right now, 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation is reflected in those test scores.

“I have some serious concerns with the proposed changes to the teacher evaluation system, specifically forcing districts to negotiate an agreement in order to receive additional state aid increases,” Smith said. “This has been tried before, and was not successful.”

Robert Reidy Jr., executive director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents and Timothy Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, issued a joint statement about the new teacher evaluation law within the New York State Budget.

“The well-known definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” the two said. “Since 2010, legislation to change the teacher evaluation system in New York has been passed three times. The proposals currently under consideration as a part of state budget negotiation will be the fourth attempt in five years.”

Reidy and Kremer said the governor forced new teacher evaluation protocol during the budget deadline in 2012, and that led to deficiencies in the evaluation system the governor now opposes.

Reidy and Kremer also are critical of push to have independent evaluators, instead of school administrators, do the reviews for teachers.

“Introducing an unaffiliated ‘independent’ evaluator to this practice would undermine the one successful piece of the current evaluation law,” Reidy and Kremer said. “Together these proposals represent yet another costly unfunded mandate on local school districts, while jeopardizing their ability to access needed state aid.”

PSC reps will be at Barker meeting on wind project

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

Local governments have little say in permitting process

Apex Clean Energy – A 200-megawatt wind farm is eyed for the towns of Yates and Somerset along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

BARKER – Officials from the state Public Service Commission will be in Barker on Wednesday to detail a new process for permitting wind farms, a process that gives more control to the state.

A proposal for 60 to 68 wind turbines in the towns of Yates and Somerset would be the first wind project through the state’s new Article 10 process, which Orleans County officials say takes away home rule in permitting of the turbines.

Residents who oppose the project in the two towns have formed Save Ontario Shores. They have been attending many local government meetings, posting on social media and writing letters to the editor against the project.

“They’re putting pressure on the locals and they have no control,” Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative, said at Friday’s board meeting for the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

Apex Clean Energy is working on “Lighthouse Wind,” and the cluster of turbines collectively would generate about 200 megawatts of power, enough to power 59,000 homes, Apex officials said.

The company will be available to discuss the project from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Barker Firehall, 1660 Quaker Rd.

Public Service Commission representatives will also discuss the state’s role in the permitting process. The PSC will give presentations at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Legion claims Euchre League title

Contributed Story Posted 31 March 2015 at 12:00 am

A narrow win on the final day of the season has earned Legion the Medina Euchre League championship.

In the runner-up spot for most of the season, Legion nipped front-running JR Wilson 36-34 Monday to claim the title.

Legion finishes the season at 942-878 just one point ahead of JR Wilson at 941-879.

Third place Sacred Heart downed Vets Club 38-32 in the other final match.

Sacred Heart finishes the season at 911-909 and Vets Club at 846-974.

Sale on Swan building hasn’t closed yet

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

Photo by Tom Rivers – The sale of the former Swan Library building at the corner of West State and North Main streets is expected to close any day now.

ALBION – For nearly two months, Hoag Library staff, volunteers and professional movers worked to empty the former Swan Library.

The sale of the building was to be finalized on March 23. Eight days after that date, the building remains in possession of the library.

The sale should close any day now, said Kevin Doherty, president of the Board of Trustees.

He said there aren’t any problems with the sale or the process, but some of the paperwork is still being reviewed by lawyers. The library met its goal of cleaning out the building by March 23.

The former library, a historic 6,000-square-foot site on Main Street, will be sold for $53,000 to Chad Fabry of Holley.

He wants to make the building available for offices, as well as a community meeting room.

“It needs some paint, some flooring work and fixture updates,” Fabry said today. “Otherwise it’s in great shape. I look forward to closing sometime soon.”

The library rented a dumpster for some of the junk and non-valuables at the site. Some of the more valuable artifacts were moved to the Hoag Library or a storage unit.

Swan was home to the community’s public library for 112 years, until the library moved a few blocks south to a new 14,600-square-foot building in 2012. The Hoag Library more than doubled the space for the library and offered far more parking spaces. The new site also is fully handicapped accessible.

Medina 1 booters cap 8-0 regular season

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

Completing a perfect 8-0 regular season, Medina 1 defeated Zimmi’s Auto Service 5-2 over the weekend in the Senior Division of the Kenan Indoor Soccer League.

Steven Anderson and Collin Dunn each scored 2 goals and Carson Zgoda 1 for Medina 1.

Also in the Senior Division, Medina 2 dropped a narrow 9-7 decision to Zimmi’s to finish the regular season in fourth place at 2-6.

Aaron Feltz and Garren Bayne each scored 2 goals for Medina 2 as Brian Anderson, Nick Albone and Ian Smith each netted 1.

In the Junior Division, Medina finished the regular season at 8-0 after picking up a forfeit win over M.P. Construction.

League playoffs begin the weekend of April 10-12.

Students speak out against tobacco on Kick Butts Day

Posted 31 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – Students in the Orleans County YMCA after-school program at Oak Orchard Elementary School, include Nathan and Aiden, in front kneeling. In back: Alyssa, Brooklyn, Brennan, Tyler, Jacob, Grace, Elizabeth. Students show support for Kick Butts Day 2015.

Press Release, Tobacco-Free GLOW

MEDINA – Students involved in the YMCA after-school program at Oak Orchard Elementary School spoke out against the tobacco industry on March 17. Their efforts were part of national Kick Butts Day held on March 18, when youth from around the country voiced their concerns about tobacco marketing and the impact it has on their community.

“Tobacco use is still a big problem and we want to be the generation that ends it,” said Courtney Burch, program coordinator for the YMCA after-school program at Oak Orchard Elementary School in Medina. “We know that tobacco marketing is a major cause of youth smoking and we’re asking for help from our community leaders to join with us and declare ‘Enough is Enough.'”

Students from the YMCA program honored the 77 people who die every day in NYS from tobacco-related illnesses by challenging their peers and family members to write letters of concern to local elected leaders and tobacco retailers, asking them to take action on behalf of the next generation.

In addition to this local event, youth from Reality Check, a program funded through the NYS Bureau of Tobacco Control, gathered in Albany on Kick Butts Day to announce the winners of the New York State Youth Advocate of the Year Awards and four regional winners from across the state. These outstanding young advocates have demonstrated commitment, resolve and determination to advocate against the tobacco industry and spend time and energy to make their communities healthier.

According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, if current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease. In New York State, 108,500 high school students smoke cigarettes and each year more than 13,500 kids under 18 become new daily smokers.

A study released last month by the American Cancer Society has found that smoking’s toll on health is even worse than previously thought. The study found five additional diseases attributable to smoking and estimated that an additional 60,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to tobacco use, bringing the total annual death toll to 540,000.

“Smoking kills and we’ve got to protect kids from the cause,” said Jacob Chiaccia, age 12, student at Medina Central School. “Stores near schools should not have massive tobacco displays.”

In New York State, 82 percent of retailers including pharmacies, convenience stores and bodegas dedicate at least half of the space behind the checkout counter to openly visible tobacco products.

“We’ve seen enough tobacco marketing,” said Jacob. “We want to be the first tobacco-free generation.”

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids sponsors Kick Butts Day. As part of this national day of youth activism, there are more than 1,000 events in schools and communities across the United States and around the world.

For more information about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing in retail stores, click here. You can also contact Tobacco-Free GLOW at 585-219-4064 or email

Knowlesville canal bridge will be closed on Wednesday

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

Photo by Tom Rivers

KNOWLESVILLE – The lift bridge in Knowlesville will be closed on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. No traffic will be permitted across the bridge during that time, including emergency vehicles.

The bridge has been limited to one lane and 6 tons in recent years. The bridge was built in 1910.

Governor says new budget includes big investments in upstate

Posted 31 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo today highlighted the major investments for Upstate New York included in the 2015-16 Budget Agreement:

“With this budget, we are making the single largest investment in Upstate New York in a generation,” Cuomo said. “From creating jobs and strengthening our infrastructure to investing in farms, hospitals and broadband access, this budget is paving the way toward a new economic vitality in Upstate. It’s all part of how we’re turning around the decades of neglect that the region used to experience from Albany, and we will continue building the region back better than ever.”

Launch a $1.5 Billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative
The agreement includes the governor’s proposed Upstate Revitalization Initiative. This competition will replicate the successful Buffalo Billion initiative to help further Upstate New York’s economic recovery.

Seven regions are eligible to compete for one of three $500 million upstate revitalization funds: Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes. Projects exhibiting region-wide impact will be made a priority and should focus on strengthening critical infrastructure, revitalizing communities, bolstering workforce development, growing tourism, and improving quality of life.

Ensure Statewide High-Speed Broadband Access by the End of 2018
Gov. Cuomo set an ambitious goal to ensure every New Yorker has access to high-speed broadband service by the end of 2018. In order to accomplish this, the state budget includes $500 million to launch a statewide broadband program that leverages at least an additional $500 million in private resources to create the New NY Broadband Program.

The program will incentivize private sector providers to expand high-speed broadband access in underserved and unserved communities. This is the largest and most ambitious state investment in universal broadband deployment in the country.

Support for Capital Projects for Health Care Systems
$400 million is reserved to support debt restructuring and other capital projects for health care systems in rural communities to facilitate health care transformation.

Upstate health care systems are critical service providers and some of the largest regional employers. However, financial challenges exist for smaller, community-based and geographically isolated systems that could prevent their participation in critical state reform efforts.

$65 Million in Ports & Rail Hub Infrastructure
The budget includes $65 million for transformative infrastructure projects. Funding will support a statewide initiative to finance large-scale, complex infrastructure projects across the state and mobilize innovative project delivery methods, including design-build and public private partnerships.

The state will provide resources as follows:

$40 million for the Port of Oswego to link with the Port of New York and create additional intermodal rail yards in Syracuse and Binghamton. Such improvements will reduce truck traffic on downstate highways, increase existing export activity, build small and medium sized enterprise export capacity in upstate, and expand efforts of regional service providers.

$15 million for the Port of Albany for enhancements to ensure Upstate New York is ready to handle the projected increase in volume of containerized cargo resulting from the Panama Canal expansion of 2016. The state’s investments will support improvements to the Port’s southern dock to expand shipping capacity and serve grain operations.

$10 million for the Port of Ogdensburg for improvements to the port’s facilities and equipment, including harbor deepening to accommodate larger ships and expanded grain and salt storage.

$50 Million to Transform State Fairgrounds
The budget includes $50 million in Capital Projects moneys for the State Fairgrounds. It has been over a hundred years since the New York State Fair embarked on a transformative capital project.

It was 1909 when the first of the major buildings were completed as a part of this development. This year we lay the groundwork for the next century of a new, dynamic State Fair, one that will support the economy of Central New York, showcase New York food and agriculture and revitalize Onondaga County in an unprecedented way.

Through this $50 million investment the New York State Fairgrounds will be transformed into a premier multi€use facility by enhancing the fairgrounds’ infrastructure and buildings as well as the surrounding community to create a world€class entertainment and tourism destination, making this the greatest State Fair in the Country and providing enhanced economic activity for decades to come.

$50 million to Expand & Protect Agriculture in the Southern Tier & Hudson Valley
The budget includes $50 million for the Governor’s proposed Southern Tier and Hudson Valley Farm Initiatives. These will support farms in the region by helping landowners maintain and protect farmland, as well as develop and grow farm, agricultural and related businesses.

Student Loan Relief
The budget includes student loan support that is designed to help eligible New York State residents who graduate from college and continue to live in the state to pay nothing on their student loans for the first two years out of school.

For graduates earning less than $50,000 per year, the Get on Your Feet program will supplement the federal Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income-based loan repayment program.

The amount a participant will benefit is based on the amount owed and their adjusted gross income. The program is estimated to assist 7,100 graduates in its first year and more than 24,000 participants annually by 2019-20.

Anti-Poverty Initiatives for Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton
The governor’s Opportunity Agenda included the creation of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative to combat poverty.

In partnership with the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force made up of state agencies and other government representatives, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative works to better coordinate existing resources, create integrated services, utilize data and information technology, develop more flexible funding arrangements, and evaluate services based on outcomes.

The budget expands this initiative to Syracuse and Binghamton/Broome County and includes $725,000 in support.

Increase investment in the Environmental Protection Fund
The enacted budget raises the Environmental Protection Fund to $177 million, an increase of 32 percent since Governor Cuomo took office. The $15 million increase will support increases in 14 categories, including land conservation, stewardship, and invasive species control and prevention. The increase includes a new sub-allocation for capacity grants to State Parks friends’ groups.

Support for Fort Drum
Fort Drum is one of New York’s treasures and an institutional anchor for its region. More than 50,000 North Country residents rely on this base for economic stability.

To ensure Fort Drum remains a strong fixture in New York and a worthy home of the 10th Mountain Division, the Budget includes $1.5 million to purchase land for training and $25 million for improvements along Route 26.

Brownfields Reform and State Superfund
The state budget extends the Brownfields Cleanup Program for 10 years, and includes important reforms to protect taxpayers and promote brownfield redevelopment, particularly Upstate.

The budget also includes a new $100 million appropriation and extends the State Superfund cleanup program for 10 years, which has been instrumental in identifying, investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites throughout the state.

Enhance Oil Spill Preparedness
In response to the increased volume of crude oil being transported through New York State, the budget provides funding for additional staff dedicated to oil spill planning, training and response, consistent with Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order 125, which outlines steps the state is taking to improve oil spill response and prevention.

The budget also provides the necessary funding for planning and preparedness costs and ensures the solvency of the Oil Spill Fund by increasing fees for oil transported through New York.

Launch another $110 million round of NYSUNY2020 and NYCUNY2020
SUNY2020 and CUNY2020 are challenge grant programs designed to simultaneously strengthen academic programs at the state’s public colleges and universities while spurring economic growth at specific campuses and in nearby communities.

The programs provide incentive for capital development on and around SUNY and CUNY campuses. The budget includes $110 million to continue these programs.

Continue the Progress of the Regional Economic Development Councils
To continue the progress of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC), the budget includes $150 million to fund regional priority projects and $70 million in State tax credits for a fifth round of the REDC awards.

Since 2011, the REDCs have awarded over $2.9 billion in State funding through a competitive process to spur job creation based on regional priorities. This new strategy has resulted in 150,000 new or retained jobs in New York.

Strengthen Roads & Bridges Statewide
The budget includes $750 million for significant repairs and maintenance efforts on the state’s network of roads and bridges, ultimately enhancing the strength and resiliency of road infrastructure statewide.

Local Capital Aid for Extreme Winter Recovery
The budget includes an additional $50 million of capital to help municipalities repair and rehabilitate local roads and bridges impacted by the extreme winter.

Upstate Transit Aid Increase
Upstate transit systems will receive an extra $25 million this year, $10 million in operating and $15 million in new capital spending. This funding will help address the rising cost of operations and alleviate increases in fares and cuts in services.

Webelos from Holley and Kendall cross over to Boy Scout Troop

Contributed Story Posted 30 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Provided photos

HOLLEY – Four Webelos Scouts joined Boy Scout Troop 94 in Kendall during the Arrow of Light Ceremony on March 22.

John Patt and Kyle Surowy from Pack 3062 in Holley, crossed over with Kendall Pack 3094 boys Colby Kerry and Michael Clark.

All four boys received their Arrow of Light during a ceremony attended by the Kendall Boy Scouts and their Troopmaster Ken Spohr.

Michael Clark, Colby Kerry and John Patt also were awarded Super Achiever status, for earning all 20 achievements.

Photo by Annemarie Ruoff

Cub Scout Pack 62 of Holley also hosted its annual Pinewood Derby on March 7 at the Hulberton Fire Hall in conjunction with Pack 59 of Clarendon. A record-breaking 48 racers entered with 27 Cub Scouts racing, including Ryker Knight in center of this photo.