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Month: April 2016

Albion was focus of big moonshine raid in 1927

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 30 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Volume 2, Issue 18

Taken on October 13, 1927, these five men headed one of the largest raids on an illegal liquor manufacturing operation in Orleans County. Pictured from left to right are NYS Trooper J. P. Fisher, Undersheriff Lawrence Higley, Sheriff Ross Hollenbeck, Deputy Matthew McGlen, and NYS Trooper B. L. DeBrine; the plate on the motorcycle shows that the men were stationed at the Troop A barracks in Batavia.

Just after midnight on the 13th of October, police surrounded the abandoned canning factory once owned by Thomas Page at the corner of King Street and West Avenue. Upon entering the building they located one the largest alcohol stills ever seen in the area, allowing for the manufacture of over 5,000 gallons of moonshine liquor. Also seized was a truck carrying 205 gallons of alcohol stored in 5 gallon cans, which was to be shipped to Rochester that night.

Giuseppe Gagliano, Tony Gagliano, Joseph Mineo, James Mineo, and Joseph Lomeo all of Utica were taken into custody and arraigned in front of U.S. Commissioner Cyrus Phillips at Rochester. The men refused to provide any information about the illegal operation but claimed that they were hired by Charles Day of Rochester, a man they had never met before, to operate the still. All five were released from custody on $10,000 bail each.

Federal officers estimated the seizure of equipment in excess of $50,000 and the total value of the liquor and raw materials at nearly $200,000, roughly $3.5 million today.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the abandoned canning factory became the central location for another large distilling operation when federal officers in cooperation with local police raided the site in October of 1930. At that point, the still inside was capable of manufacturing over 1,000 gallons of alcohol each day and multiple storage vats were discovered alongside the 5,000 gallon still. Moonshiners were shipping the alcohol by truck to Buffalo where it was loaded on railcars and distributed throughout the region.

Lawrence Higley would later serve as Orleans County Sheriff and Matthew McGlen eventually found himself working for the federal government as a U.S. Customs and Border Agent. Naturally, this raid was quite the notch in their belts.

Lady Rams romp in non league contest

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Pounding out a total of 21 hits, Roy-Hart rolled to a 16-5 victory over visiting Attica today in a non league softball game.

Maddie Fry, Jamie Bower and Lexie Lovewell each had 4 hits for the Lady Rams as Maddy Glena, Kayla Brown, Jayden Townsend and Ashley Hill each chipped in with 2. Glena, whose hits included a triple, had 4 RBIs.

Roy-Hart scored 4 quick runs in the first inning to get rolling as Townsend and Bower both had RBI singles and Rachael Rausch a run producing sacrifice.

Depew Tournament

Medina bowed to Depew 10-0 and to North Tonawanda 12-9 today in the Depew Tournament.

Emily Kams had a pair of triples and Alisha Scroger a home run for the Mustangs against NT.

Kendall nets win over Pembroke

Contributed Story Posted 30 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Kendall bested Pembroke 4-1 Friday in a Genesee Region League tennis match.

Straight set wins at the first two singles positions by Collin Lewis and James Longrod sparked Kendall to the victory.

The Eagles also got victories by the doubles teams of Cameron Zinsmeister – Matthew Murray and Christopher Butlin – Jenna LoSapio.

3 municipalities want moratorium on mobile home construction outside of mobile home parks

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Planners support gun shop in Clarendon

Three municipalities in Orleans County plan to enact six-month moratoriums on mobile home construction outside of mobile home parks.

Location has generally been limited to mobile home parks, but new state legislation allows construction of manufactured outside of designated mobile home parks as long as a manufactured home “is aesthetically similar to site-built single-family homes in a residential district,” and is deemed a single-family home by the local government’s zoning law, according to the state legislation.

The villages of Albion and Holley, and the Town of Murray want a six-month moratorium on mobile home construction outside designated parks so those municipalities can work on amending their zoning ordinances. The Orleans County Planning Board backed those efforts by the three municipalities.

The Planning Board on Thursday also recommended the Town of Clarendon approve a permit for a home occupation at 4257 Hindsburg Rd., which is in a residential/agricultural district.

Erin Neale wants to operate a firearms sales business from the site. He sold firearms from the site from 1999 to 2009. He wants to reopen the business with the same setup.

The gun shop would be set back about 500 feet from Hindsburg Road in a detached structure east of Neale’s house. In addition to selling rifles, pistols and shotguns, Neale plans to sell black powder, ammunition and accessories.

5 are honored for efforts to preserve and promote local heritage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2016 at 12:00 am
Five People named Heritage Heroes

Photos by Tom Rivers – Five Orleans County residents were honored on Friday for their efforts to preserve Orleans County history. The group includes, from left: Melissa Ierlan, Delia Robinson, Peg Wiley, Al Capurso and Tim Archer.

ALBION – Three people were recognized as Heritage Heroes on Friday for efforts to preserve and promote local history. In addition, two other Orleans County residents were given special awards for their heritage efforts.

Genesee Community College recognized the third class of Heritage heroes on Friday during an awards reception at GCC in Albion. The college first recognized Heritage Heroes in 2014 as part of GCC’s Civil War Encampment. The 150th anniversary of the Civil War has passed and GCC no longer hosts the encampment.

But GCC plans to continue to recognize Heritage Heroes, said Jim Simon, GCC dean of the campus centers in Albion and Medina, and Derek Maxfield, GCC history professor. They also announced plans for a new Orleans County Heritage Festival on Sept. 9-11 featuring historic sites and attractions around the county.

Simon and Maxfield both said the county is fortunate to have many energetic citizens working to preserve historic sites and share stories of pioneer residents and others from many generations ago.

Derek Maxfield speaks at Heritage Heroes reception

Derek Maxfield, a history professor at Genesee Community College, speaks during the Heritage Heroes awards celebration on Friday at GCC in Albion. Maxfield serves on the selection committee. He announced plans for a new Orleans County Heritage Festival this year from Sept. 9-11.

The Heritage Heroes recognized for 2016 include:

Al Capurso is a retired case manager for the Department of Social Services, Probation and Mental Health. He worked there for 24 years. He also owned the Bait Barn shop by his home on Route 279.

Since retiring he has tackled many local projects, including new historical markers at the Courthouse Square for the first pioneer settler and also one by a cobblestone schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road. Capurso has led efforts to save that cobblestone building, with volunteers repairing windows and paying to have a new roof put on the site, which could become a meeting house and building used to display historic artifacts.

Capurso also gained government approvals to have a local stream named Gilbert Creek in honor of pioneer settler Elizabeth Gilbert. Capurso said many community members have stepped forward to help preserve the former schoolhouse.

Peg Wiley and her husband Richard moved to Point Breeze in 2002 to run their business, Wiley’s Riverside Marina. Mrs. Wiley soon became involved in community projects, including leading the effort to build a replica of the Oak Orchard Lighthouse that was toppled in 1916 during a wind storm.

Wiley helped raise $300,000 for the new lighthouse, which was completed in 2010 and now serves as an iconic symbol for the county featured in tourism guides. The lighthouse also includes a small museum telling the history of the original lighthouse.

The project helped inspire other community fund-raising efforts for a new public library in Albion, a new Education Center at the 4-H Fairgrounds and the new Hospice residence in Albion.

“The lighthouse was built by the community,” Wiley said at the awards program. “The community became empowered. They believed they could do it.”

Wiley said many people helped with the project, including the late Cheryl Staines, who served as treasurer of the project. Staines died on Friday after battling cancer.

“We couldn’t have done it without her,” Wiley said.

Tim Archer is the service learning teacher at Albion, working with seventh graders. He has led them on several historic preservation efforts in Albion and beyond.

They have cleaned up the Prisoner of War Camp from World War II in Hamlin, and are working to have a historic marker at Hillside Cemetery in Holley for Charles Herbert Taylor, the only known resident of the county killed in the battle of Gettysburg.

Archer and Albion students cleaned up the cemetery at the former County Alms House on County House Road in Albion, resetting stones, clearing brush, researching the names of residents and erecting a memorial in their honor.

Archer said he has 140 students each year to work on projects. The students are determined and feel pride in the efforts.

“They need to take ownership of their community,” he said.

Bill Lattin gives Heritage Hero award to Melissa Ierlan

Bill Lattin, retired Orleans County historian, presents the first C.W. “Bill” Lattin Award for Excellence in Municipal History to Melissa Ierlan, the Clarendon town historian.

The Heritage Heroes program this year included two new awards to recognize municipal historians, who were excluded from previous Heritage Hero recognition. Maxfield said the Heritage Hero Committee wanted to recognize municipal historians, who he said are “unsung heroes,” often working long hours for little pay.

The committee created the C.W. “Bill” Lattin Award for Excellence in Municipal History in honor of Lattin, the county’s historian for nearly four decades. He also led the Cobblestone Society Museum for about 40 years.

Melissa Ierlan is first recipient. She works as Clarendon’s historian and code enforcement officer. She also is active in the Clarendon Historical Society and has spearheaded efforts to save the chapel at Hillside Cemetery.

Ierlan has also repainted 15 historic markers in the county (including one in Elba for the mucklands). She scrapes the paint off the markers and meticulously repaints them, projects that take several days. She has volunteers who help re-weld some of the markers.

Lattin said Ierlan has a can-do attitude. He compared her to former Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton.

“Melissa is supercharged,” Lattin said. “She sees things to do and does them.”

The Committee also created the Robert E. Waters Award for Lifetime Achievement in honor of the late Waters, a newspaper publisher who was active in many community causes. Waters was in the inaugural Heritage Heroes class.

Delia Robinson is the first recipient of the award. She served as a Gaines town historian for more than three decades, writing books on cobblestone buildings, Gaines history and contributions of women to the county’s history.

Robinson was influential in many historical markers being placed in the county, noting efforts by women. She continues to give monthly historical talks at Hoag Library.

“You never know all of the history,” Robinson said. “History is never done. There’s always something to find out.”

Albion softball squad tops Lake Placid

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Ellen Narburgh slides safely into third base ahead of a tag by Lake Placid’s Emily Jesmer. The action took place during the host Purple Eagles win over the Lady Bombers this morning.

Scoring in each of the first four innings, Albion went on to post an 8-2 victory over visiting Lake Placid this morning in a non league softball game.

Ashley Bocach had 3 hits and Ellen Narburgh 2 to lead the attack for Albion which improves to 8-4. Narburgh also split the pitching duties in the circle with Skyler Smith.

Albion took the lead for good by scoring two quick runs in the first inning on a fielders choice play off the bat of Meghan Hurley and a wild pitch. Singles by Bocach and Kassidy Hastings set up the opportunity.

Albion catcher Kelsee Soule makes a diving catch of a foul ball for an out.

The Purple Eagles made it 5-0 in the second inning as a sacrifice fly by Sierra Newton, a single by Bocach and a wild pitch plated the three runs. A single by Narburgh and an error ignited the uprising.

Smith and Bocach tacked on RBI singles in the third inning and an unearned tally in the fourth upped the lead to 8-0.

Albion second baseman Sierra Newton tries to turn a double play as Lake Placid’s Morgan Meyer heads to second base.

Lake Placid scored twice in the seventh on fielders choice plays off the bats of Mia Kennedy and Elaina Smith.

Morgan Meyer also had a pair of hits on the day and Madison Gifford a double for the Lady Bombers.

Albion next visits Newfane on Monday in a Niagara-Orleans League game.

Skyler Smith delivers a pitch for Albion.

Planners approve drive-thru ATM for Bank of America at Dunkin Donuts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2016 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Bank of America is adding a drive-through ATM in Albion. The new feature won’t be at the bank’s site. It will be across from Bank of America at Dunkin Donuts.

The Orleans County Planning Board supported the project during its meeting on Thursday. The ATM will be at the southeast corner of the Dunkin Donuts lot near the entrance by Platt Street. It will have room for three vehicles, will be lighted and will have a monument sign noting the ATM.

Bank of America doesn’t have room for a drive-through ATM at its site, said Ron Vendetti, village code enforcement officer.

The bank will continue to run a walk-up ATM at its Main Street location.

The project needs two variances, and the County Planning Board recommended Albion approve both. The village code requires room for five vehicles in a drive-through, but this proposed ATM has room for three vehicles. Planners said the ATM “is not expected to be a substantial traffic generator.” The walk-up ATM at the bank also will ease some pressure on the drive-through ATM, planners said.

The village code allows one freestanding sign per commercial property and this will have two with the Bank of America ATM and Dunkin Donuts.

Planners said the new sign noting ATM should be located in a way that doesn’t obstruct sight lines for vehicles attempting to exit the property.

Medina celebrates Arbor Day by planting 71 trees

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Students join in tree planting at State Street Park

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Village of Medina celebrated Arbor Day today with help from students from Oak Orchard Elementary School. The village held a tree-planting celebration at State Street Park.

The village has planted about 1,500 trees in the past 15 years. This Arbor Day marks the ninth year in a row that the Village of Medina has been awarded the Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The award honors Medina’s commitment to community forestry.

Medina is planted 71 trees this spring, mostly along areas of West Center Street with additional plantings on West Avenue, Gwinn Street and State Street Park.

Aidyn Jackson, a Medina first-grader, puts the final shovel of dirt on a flowering pear tree at State Street Park. The village planted six flowering pear trees along the park’s perimeter.

This first grade class poses for a picture in front a newly planted tree.

Dan Doctor, the Oak Orchard principal, gets a picture of students by a new tree. Doctor told the kids to “Say Trees!” when he took the picture.

Medina Mayor Michael Sidari is pictured with Tree Board Chairman Chris Busch on a stage during the Arbor Day celebration. Sidari said saplings will go to be tall trees. He told students to return to the park often as adults and take pride in the new trees.

The mayor also read a proclamation about Arbor Day.

Sidari and Busch presented a “Friend of the Urban Forest Award” to Bob Sanderson, a Medina resident who donated $5,700 to plant many of the new trees. Sanderson owns Candlelight Cabinetry and Kitchen World in Lockport, employing 230 people. The company uses lots of wood, and Sanderson said the business is committed to planting new trees through several “Tree Hugger Initiatives.” Sanderson said Medina is becoming known as “the town that plants all of the trees.”

Medina third-graders Garrett Koch, center, and Elizabeth Thompson read a poem about Arbor Day. They are joined by teacher Nicole Goyette.

Mayor Sidari poses with elementary students after planting trees at State Street Park.

Medina stickmen down Salamanca

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Moving on top to stay in the second quarter, Medina went on to defeat host Salamanca 18-8 this afternoon in a Class C Division lacrosse game.

Trailing 3-2, Medina rallied with a 6-1 second quarter scoring burst to take the lead for good.

Mason Lewis and Jake Cotter both scored a pair of goals during that stretch which also included tallies by Coby Albone and Tyler Howard as Medina rallied into a 8-4 lead at the half.

The Mustangs boosted the lead to 13-5 at the three-quarter mark as Cotter tallied two goals in the third period while Brendan Luthart, Johnny Salone and Lewis each netted 1.

Cotter had a total of 5 goals, Lewis 4, Luthart and Albone 3 each and Howard, Salone and Greg Husung 1 each.

Medina is now 5-7 and Salamanca 4-8.

County Planning Board backs tougher wind energy law in Yates

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Gary Daum, a Yates resident and a member of the Orleans County Planning Board, discusses Yates’ proposed moratorium and a updated law on wind energy facilities. The Planning Board supported the proposals by Yates.

YATES – The Orleans County Planning Board is supporting the Town of Yates in revising a nearly decade-old local law on wind energy facilities.

The previous town ordinance from 2008 caps the height of turbines at 420 feet. Apex Clean Energy wants to build up to 71 turbines in Yates and Somerset that would be between 490 to 620 feet in height to the top of the turbine blade.

Yates isn’t proposing a height restriction with the new law, but instead would require setbacks from residences, roads, municipal boundaries and other public use areas 4.5 times the turbine height. With turbines at 620 feet, the setbacks would need to be more than a half mile.

“This would effectively be a ban on turbines,” Dan Fitzgerald, project manager for Apex Clean Energy, told the County Planning Board on Thursday.

Apex submitted 13 pages of comments about the local law.

Jim Simon, the Yates town supervisor, said town officials aren’t trying to ban turbines.

“This law wasn’t written for a developer,” Simon said. “This law is written for our town and for our people.”

Dan Fitzgerald, project manager for Apex Clean Energy, shares his concerns about the Yates proposed law. The meeting on Thursday was held at the Carlton Recreation Hall.

The Planning Board said the new regulations are more rigorous than the 2008 law, as they should be because the latest-generation of utility-scale turbines “rise to much greater heights than those envisioned when Yates’ current law was adopted.”

The bigger turbines involve deeper foundations, longer shadows, farther ice throws, greater visibility, and more reasons to analyze potential impacts on birds and wildlife, the Planning Board said.

“It’s still evolving,” said Planning Board member Gary Daum, a Yates resident. “It’s about people and innovation and new things.”

The revised Yates law expands the findings section from 10 to 24 items, with the developer required to analyze ambient sound, background sound, weighted sound pressures, shadow flicker and tower height, and many other issues.

The town also will require a transportation plan for construction of turbines to assess potential damage to local roads and bridges, and mitigation of traffic congestion with movement of turbine materials.

Yates also will require developers with wind energy facilities to complete reports and analysis from the projects on groundwater, geotechnical, flora/fauna, cultural/historical/architectural/, wildlife, blade throw, stray voltage and aviation.

Planners noted that the strength of the local laws for wind turbines is currently unsettled given that the state leads the process through Article 10, with a state siting board voting on the projects.

Yates also is seeking a six-month moratorium on wind energy conversion systems. That moratorium will give the town time to pass its revised law and also incorporate revisions into the Yates-Carlton-Kendall Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, as well as the town’s comprehensive plan.

Apex officials said they thought their project should be grandfathered in and not be subject to the moratorium. Apex has been meeting with landowners in Yates about the project for 22 months, said Taylor Quarles, development manager.

Apex hasn’t submitted a formal application for its project. It is seeking a second meteorological tower to assess wind strength. That tower wouldn’t be able to go up until after the moratorium.