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Posted 29 October 2020 at 7:00 am

We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit the length of your letter (we suggest no more than 500 words) and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to news@orleanshub.com.

Posted 21 September 2020 at 7:00 am

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Orleans, Niagara officials join Congressman in pressing state for local Covid-19 funding

Posted 29 October 2020 at 9:35 pm

Provided photo: U.S. Rep. Jacobs held a press conference this morning with NYS Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Mike Norris, and Niagara and Orleans County Chairwomen Rebecca Wydysh and Lynne Johnson to discuss state and local Covid-19 aid funding.

Press Release, U.S. Rep. Chris Jacobs

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) held a press conference this morning to highlight the critical need for additional state and local Covid-19 relief funding. He was joined by NYS Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Mike Norris, Niagara County Legislature Chair Rebecca Wydysh, and Orleans County Legislature Chair Lynne Johnston.

“Our small rural governments are struggling and facing severe cuts to first responders, education, hospitals, and other critical services unless additional aid is provided to them,” Jacobs said. “I am working tirelessly to ensure they are supported, and that is why I proudly cosponsored the SMART Act to deliver $500 billion in relief, specifically $161 billion to county and municipal governments that have been hardest hit by Covid-19 revenue loss and expenses.”

“The state’s Division of Budget is currently withholding $3 billion in Covid-19 recovery funds, a third of which could be immediately distributed to the smaller counties of our state that did not receive assistance previously,” State Sen. Rob Ortt said. “By releasing this funding, the Governor could provide much-needed support to our counties, towns, villages, and cities, these counties and municipalities that are struggling to maintain vital services due to the economic impacts of the Covid pandemic.”

“I commend Congressman Jacobs for supporting the SMART Act to assist municipalities recover during Covid-19,” Assemblyman Michael J. Norris said. “It is very important that this proposal gets enacted to assist counties like Niagara and Orleans to directly receive funding to help taxpayers and small businesses rebuild.”

In NY-27, Monroe County and Erie County received CARES Act funding because they met the population threshold of over 500,000 residents. With this funding these counties were able to launch programs to aid towns and small businesses.

Meanwhile, smaller counties, including Orleans and Niagara, have received little to no funding. The SMART Act would send one-third of the $500 billion ($161 billion) directly to local governments based on revenue loss, population size, and Covid-19 caseload.

“The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the local economies of all counties across New York State, large and small, and as such, all counties should have received a share of CARES Act dollars,” said Becky Wydysh, chairwoman of the Niagara County Legislature. “We do not begrudge the fact that Erie County received funding, and quite frankly, they have done some great things like grants to small businesses that we would emulate. That is why I join with Congressman Jacobs and my colleagues in calling on New York State to release CARES dollars that are still sitting in Albany to counties like Niagara that so far have received nothing.”

“I am calling on Governor Cuomo to release CARES Act funds to our rural counties. Each day that he stalls forces smaller counties to make difficult decisions,” said Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of Orleans County Legislature.

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Holley booters rally to down W-C

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 October 2020 at 9:23 pm

Coming from behind, Holley edged past visiting Wheatland-Chili 2-1 this evening to finish the Genesee Region League boys soccer season at 8-2.

W-C jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick goal but Holley pulled even before halftime on a goal by KJ Biedlingmaier off an assist from Nathan Nothnagle.

The Hawks then claimed the win on a second half goal by Nothnagle as Kayden Servais earned the assist.

In the other G-R contests, Pembroke outlasted Kendall 5-4 and front-running Attica blanked Byron-Bergen /Elba 2-0.

Two penalty kick goals proved to be the difference for Pembroke which led 3-0 at the half.

Kendall closed to within one three times in the second half but could not pull even.

The Eagles got goals from Jake Esposito, Mike McCue, Hayden VanDusen and Zach Barrett.

Kendall next visits Holley in a non league game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Final G-R Standings: Attica 8-1-1, Holley 8-2, Wheatland-Chili 4-5-1, Kendall 4-6, Pembroke 3-7, Byron-Bergen/Elbs 2-8.

Albion girls hand Wilson first soccer loss

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 October 2020 at 8:48 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Kenzi Hapeman sends the ball up field as Wilson’s Lilly O’Lay comes in to defend. The action took place during Albion’s home field win over previously unbeaten Wilson this evening.

A lone first half goal proved to be just enough as Albion avenged an early season 3-1 loss by knocking Wilson from the ranks of the unbeaten 1-0 this evening in a key Niagara-Orleans League girls soccer game.

Abby Scanlan netted the lone goal for Albion midway though the first half as Sydney Mulka made 7 saves in the net for the Purple Eagles.

Improving to 6-3, the victory was the fifth in a row for the Purple Eagles after a 1-3 start to the season.

The loss drops Wilson to 8-1 and keeps runner-up Roy-Hart, a 3-0 victor over Newfane, in the thick of the title race at 6-2.

Roy-Hart will visit Wilson next Tuesday in the regular season finale needing a win to gain a share of the title. Wilson won the earlier season meeting with Roy-Hart 3-0.

Roy-Hart’s goals all came in the first half as Kara Choate scored off an assist from Nadia White, White scored from Choate and then Choate scored again from Ava Owens.

In the other N-O contest, Akron (3-5-1) downed Barker (0-9) 8-0 as Natalie Karmazyn scored 3 goals and Olivia Kreher 2.

Albion’s Aly Knaak works to advance the ball up field as Maddie Miller comes in to defend for Wilson.

Barker trims Roy-Hart in a shootout

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 October 2020 at 8:12 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Barker’s Madison Gancasz knocks the ball away from Roy-Hart’s Claire Halstead during the host Lady Raiders shootout win this afternoon.

Setting set stage for a key first place showdown on Saturday, Barker nipped visiting Roy-Hart 2-1 in a shootout this afternoon in a key Niagara–Orleans League field hockey game.

Improving to 8-1, defending champion Barker will next visit front-running Akron at 10 a.m. Saturday in a key clash for the league lead. Akron blanked Wilson 7-0 this afternoon to stay undefeated at 10-0.

In the day’s other N-O contest, Kenmore (3-5-1) edged host Medina (2-6-2) 1-0.

Barker outscored Roy-Hart 4-2 in the shootout to claim the win.

Mia Herman, Natalie Bruning, Madison Gancasz and Lena Fazzolari scored the shootout goals for the Lady Raiders.

Barker goalie Courtney Hillman then made saves on Roy-Hart’s last two shooters to lock up the win.

Amanda Hill and Lexiss Diel scored goals for Roy-Hart in the shootout.

Roy-Hart grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second quarter on a goal by Miah Glena off an assist from Justine Laverty.

Barker rallied to tie the on test early in the fourth quarter on a goal by Ashlin Cole.

Roy-Hart is now 6-4-1.

Akron was led by Lacey Berghorn with 4 goals and Jenelle Kieffer with 2.

Roy-Hart’s Lexiss Diel and Barker’s Ella Gooding battle for control of the ball.

New historical marker goes up in Holley by house on Underground Railroad

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 6:43 pm

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

HOLLEY – This new historical marker was installed today at 35 South Main Street. It notes the site was once a “Safe House” and the home of Chauncey Robinson, who lived from 1792-1866.

Robinson was an Orleans County pioneer and an abolitionist. He sheltered escaped slaves at this site as part of the Underground Railroad.

The sign was funded by Roy Bubb, James Robinson, the Orleans County Historical Association and the Orleans County Historian’s Department under Matt Ballard.

The other side of the marker notes the location is the “Brainerd Home,” which was built by Col. Ezra Brainard, inventor of Brained Truss Bridge. He was a contractor on the Erie Canal who built the Sandy Creek embankment in Holley.

Local historians have long suspected there were houses in Orleans County on the Underground Railroad, which was a secret network of trails and homes. But there wasn’t documentation to back it up, until Clarendon Historian Melissa Ierlan found a letter from Robinson’s grandson.

In the lengthy letter, the grandson details visiting his grandfather, who took him up to the second floor of the back side of the house. The grandfather pulled back a curtain, and there was a group of escaped slaves on beds.

More research showed that Robinson was in fact an outspoken abolitionist,.

This is the second historical marker in Orleans County about African-American history. Medina in April 2015 unveiled a marker on Main Street in recognition of two speeches delivered in the community by Frederick Douglass, a leading abolitionist.

The Holley marker highlights a local resident advocating for escaped slaves.

The Holley marker is two-sided with one side highlighting Robinson and the Underground Railroad, and the other side noting the work of Ezra Brainard, who built Robinson’s home and oversaw construction of the canal embankment over Sandy Creek.

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Fatal motor vehicle accident in Royalton this afternoon

Staff Reports Posted 29 October 2020 at 5:49 pm

ROYALTON – There was a fatal motor vehicle accident on Mill Road in Royalton this afternoon, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 1:51 p.m. about an accident at the 7800 block of Mill Road.

The initial investigation by deputies at the scene revealed that a 2011 Honda was traveling northeast on Mill Road when it crossed the center line and entered the southwest bound lane.

The vehicle continued across the southwest bound lane and exited the roadway’s edge. The vehicle then struck an earthen embankment and overturned. The Honda continued a short distance across the grass where it ultimately came to rest against a stand of trees, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

The driver of the vehicle succumbed to injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the driver involved is being withheld at this time pending notification to family.

An investigation by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Accident Investigation Unit is continuing.

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Two teens turn themselves in, a day after Amber Alert issued for their baby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 5:10 pm

NEWARK – The two teens who were sought by law enforcement after an Amber Alert was issued on Wednesday turned themselves in at the Newark Police Department today, Orleans County Undersheriff Michael Mele said.

Both Alyssa Bel, 15, of Clarendon and Kevin Huntington, 16, were suspects in their daughter’s abduction. On Wednesday the Amber Alert was cancelled after they left their baby, nearly two months old, at a family member’s residence.

The Amber Alert was activated at 2:22 p.m. on Wednesday and was cancelled shortly after 3:30 p.m.

“Thank you to all who have sent in tips and information regarding the locations of these individuals,” Mele said in a news release.

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Lyndonville third-graders going to remote learning until Nov. 9

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 4:54 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The school district will have all third-graders do remote learning until Nov. 9 after a staff member contracted Covid-19.

The Orleans County Health Department instructed the district to make the shift to remote learning so students can quarantine at home until they are able to safely resume in-person instruction, said Jason Smith, school district superintendent.

“At this time, no additional members of the third grade staff or students are symptomatic,” Smith said in a notice to the community. “The District will continue to receive guidance and direction from the Orleans County Health Department. If students and staff remain asymptomatic, they will be able to return to school on Monday, November 9, 2020.”

In Lyndonville, students are able to do in-person learning for five days a week rather than a hybrid model.

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Orleans reports 1 new Covid-19 case, while Genesee has 12

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 4:33 pm

200 people from community have now recovered from Covid-19 in Orleans County

Orleans County has one new confirmed case of Covid-19 today, a person in the 60s who lives in Yates.

The individual was not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said.

Orleans has now had 398 people test positive for Covid since March.

The county is also reporting 18 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.

The county reached a milestone today with three more people recovering from Covid and being released from the isolation list. Orleans has now had 200 recoveries from the community. (That doesn’t include people who had Covid in nursing homes and other state-regulated facilities.)

One resident remains hospitalized due to Covid.

The Health Department also is reporting a Lyndonville Central School District tested positive for Covid-19. The staff member was last in the school was Friday, October 23. All contacts have been identified and have been placed under mandatory quarantine.

In Genesee County, the 12 new cases are residents of Darien, Elba, LeRoy, Pavilion and Oakfield.

The new cases are in the following age groups: 0-19 (1), 20s (4), 30s (2), 40s (1), 50s (3), and 60s (1).

Five of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive. Genesee has now had 374 people test positive since March.

Three Genesee residents are hospitalized due to Covid.

To see an online map of confirmed cases in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, click here. There are currently 76 active cases in the three counties with 36 in Orleans, 30 in Genesee and 10 in Wyoming.

Here is each region’s percentage of positive test results as reported over the last three days. Orleans County is the Finger Lakes Region.

State-wide Data: There were 168,353 test results reported to the state on Wednesday, a new record high for tests in one day.

The state-wide positivity rate is 1.48 percent with the positive testing rate in all focus zone areas at 3.24 percent, and the positivity rate outside the focus areas at 1.25 percent.

There were 19 deaths from Covid in state on Wednesday, bringing the state-wide total to 25,792.

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Shelby GOP has many reasons for supporting Wilkins on Town Board

Posted 29 October 2020 at 12:52 pm

Editor:

I am writing to urge support for Shelby Town Council candidate Ryan Wilkins. Ryan has been a Village of Medina resident for 47 of the last 49 years, and Ryan has been a resident of the Town of Shelby for 45 of the last 49 years.

The Shelby Town Board has not had a Village of Medina resident as a member since 2017. When interviewed here is what the committee saw in Ryan:

• Being a Village of Medina resident, Ryan would be able to share with the Town Board a village perspective.

• Ryan does not have any family members seated on the current Town Board.

• Ryan would like to expand the current “shared services” with the village and other area municipalities (water savings, shared fuel farm, cooperation of labor force).

• Ryan would like to ensure the best value is received from the money taxpayers pay in taxes to the Town of Shelby.

• Ryan would like to explore enhancing resident’s services without creating additional tax burden.

• Ryan would like to explore the creation of a regional ambulance service by enhancing the services provided by the Village of Medina.

These are a few of the many reasons Ryan received the Republican endorsement from the Shelby Republican Committee.

Skip Draper

Medina

Former Shelby Republican Chairman

Local Dems give McMurray a boost in home stretch of election

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 12:40 pm

Congressional candidate, speaking in Albion, urges voters to look beyond party labels

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kathy Pace wears a mask of “Animal” from the Muppets and holds a sign, “Crazy for McMurray.” She was among a group of supporters for Nate McMurray, right, at the intersection of Main and Park streets in Albion at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

ALBION – Nate McMurray made a campaign stop in Albion on Wednesday evening and he is optimistic he will emerge the victor in a Congressional race against incumbent Chris Jacobs.

The district is heavily stacked in a Republican’s favor. McMurray lost a very close race in 2018 to Chris Collins and then a special election on June 23 to fill a vacancy after Collins resigned due to insider trading. (Collins is serving his 26-month prison term at a minimum security federal prison camp in Pensacola.)

The Nov. 3 election is for a full two-year term. The district is the most Republican-leaning in the state. Republicans have a sizable edge in registered voters in the 8-county district, 194,901 compared to 153,511 Democrats.

There are also 13,957 registered members of the Conservative Party, 27,197 members of the Independence Party and 108,589 “blanks” or unaffiliated voters.

“It is a difficult district, I’m not going to lie,” McMurray said in Albion. “It was designed for any Republican to win.”

Long-time Orleans County Democratic Party leaders Jeanne Crane, left, and Aggie Recco hold McMurray signs as part of a rally along Main Street.

McMurray believes he has stronger name recognition than Jacobs, and McMurray said he has met thousands of voters while campaigning since 2018. He said he has been to Orleans County a hundred times and is very familiar with the small towns throughout the district.

“I hope people look beyond the labels,” McMurray said in an interview at Albion. “I’m a blue-collar person who is a Democrat in the old-school way, saying that we have to fight for blue-collar and working class jobs, and that’s what I’m here for.”

McMurray, speaking to supporters on Wednesday, said Albion is one of the most striking places in the entire district with the Courthouse Square, downtown and Erie Canal.

Nate McMurray greets a supporter outside the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion. About 30 people attended a get-out-the-vote rally.

McMurray addressed supporters from the pulpit at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. But before he did, he wanted to know the history of the church.

“How beautiful is this place?” McMurray said looking around the church sanctuary. “Can someone please give us the history of this building.”

Bill Lattin, a retired county historian, stood up and shared how George Pullman had the church built as a memorial for his parents in 1894. George grew up in Albion and moved to Chicago and made a fortune making comfortable railroad sleeping cars. The Pullman church includes 43 Tiffany stained glass windows.

McMurray, at the beginning of his remarks, also praised Jeanne Crane, who recently stepped down as chairwoman of the Orleans County Democratic Party. She has always been encouraging in a “Long fight,” McMurray said.

“Jeanne Crane is here and we love her,” McMurray said. “She is a wonderful human being.”

Crane said McMurray has frequently been to the county and reached out to local Democrativ leaders.

“He came to us early and attends many of our functions,” Crane said. “He is down to earth and cordial.”

Jim Renfrew of Clarendon holds a McMurray sign up high.

McMurray, an attorney and former Grand Island town supervisor, said he will need more than Democrats to win. He said he has been close in the past two elections due to conservatives and independents crossing over.

He urged Republicans to give him a chance.

“I feel if I could meet every single person I would win,” McMurray said. “But party labels go a long way still. Party-line politics has caused problems for Western New York.”

He has been hindered in connecting with voters because so many festivals, county fairs and parades have been cancelled due to Covid-19.

He has been active on social media, connecting with 10,000 followers on Facebook and 20,000 followers on Twitter.

Nate McMurray addressed supporters from the pulpit of the Pullman church. He marveled at the beauty of the church and also said Albion is one of the prettiest towns in the 27th Congressional District with its striking Courthouse Square, downtown business district and Erie Canal.

McMurray said when people meet him, he doesn’t fit the stereotypes depicted in the ads the past three years from his opponents.

“I think the message is out there but it’s hard to fight $10 million in negative advertisements, because that’s what they’ve thrown at me the past three years,” McMurray said. “Some people think I’m a devil or something but when they meet me they’re like, ‘This guy is a nice guy.’”

He has used grass roots support, about 4,000 small donations, to fund the campaign. His volunteers also sent out 70,000 hand-written postcards.

“You find me a campaign that has ever done that in the country,” McMurray said.

He blamed President Trump for fueling divisions in the country. The president also has offered an incompetent response to the Covid-19 pandemic and Jacobs has refused to offer any criticism for Trump’s handling of the crisis, McMurray said.

The country needs Joe Biden, “a decent man” who would bring the country together and work for all Americans, McMurray said.

“I believe in America,” McMurray told his supporters at the Pullman event. “America can redeem itself.”

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Lyndonville reports staff member tests positive for Covid-19

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 11:32 am

LYNDONVILLE – The school district has been notified by the Orleans County Health Department that a staff member has tested positive for Covid-19.

The staff member was last at the school campus on Oct. 23, District Superintendent Jason Smith wrote in a letter to the community.

“We have spoken to the Health Department and if your child is deemed a ‘close contact,’ you will be contacted by New York State Contract Tracers and provided with further direction,” Smith said. “If your son/daughter is contacted and is put on mandatory quarantine, please call our school nurse, Mrs. Kurz, at 765-3124.  We will work with your child about being fully remote during the quarantine period. Please note it is not necessary to take action unless you are personally notified by the Health Department.”

Lyndonville is the second of the five school districts to have a staff member test positive. Holley had a teacher test positive last Friday.

Lyndonville hasn’t had any students test positive for Covid so far this school year.

“We are committed to providing our students and staff with a safe and healthy environment,” Smith said in his letter. “I assure you, our building will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. I continue to be proud of our staff and students for adhering to the safety protocols we have in place. Our cleaning, social distancing, barriers and face covering are effective in preventing the spread of the virus on our campus. I ask that you please continue to wear face masks, maintain social distancing and wash your hands frequently.”

Lyndonville will continue to have in-person classes five days a week.

“We will monitor the situation closely and will notify you immediately if the Department of Health determines there is a need to close school—right now, this is NOT the case,” Smith said.

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Hoag Library will be closed Tuesday to patrons while site used for voting

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 October 2020 at 11:07 am

ALBION – Hoag Library will be closed to library patrons on Tuesday, Nov. 3, when the building is used as a polling site for the Town of Albion from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The library wants to reduce large-scale social contact at the site so it is making library services unavailable. (Patrons can still return items to the outdoor book drop and WiFi is always accessible 24-7 from the parking lot.)

Hoag Library leaders said closing the building for library services is being done to help protect the health of patrons, library staff and election workers.

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Republicans urged to vote with courage in presidential election

Posted 29 October 2020 at 10:31 am

Editor:

There are Republicans I would have voted for over Joe Biden, but I would never vote for a person who, in my view, is as depraved as Donald Trump.

Reading Judge Punch’s recent letter was encouraging, though not particularly surprising. How about that? Another Republican—along with Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Bill Weld and numerous others—with courage.

Our accidental, aberrational President is deplorable as a leader. It sickens me to think teens such as the ones I had the pleasure to work with for decades are hearing some of his rhetoric dressed up as “tweets”.  He referred to the highly respected Dr. Fauci as an “idiot” not long ago. That wasn’t strange enough, so he called someone else a “dumb (read a synonym for a child without an acknowledged father)”.

As a Democrat whose nephew is a deputy sheriff, I am offended by the notion that Joe Biden wants to “defund” the police because less than one-tenth of one percent are “bad apples” of one sort or another.  No one I know—black, white, or brown—thinks most in law enforcement are evil. I rarely miss an opportunity to thank those doing conscientious law enforcement for the dangerous work they do.

Heaven forbid that Donald Trump performs as President the way he runs his business ventures.  He will never pay our Nation’s bills any more than he has his own and will likely bankrupt the Nation the way he has so many of his businesses. My condolences to anyone who has ever worked for Mr. Trump expecting to be paid. Good luck getting paid if you ever do any work for Mr. Trump.

Isn’t it swell that he puts corporate lobbyists and those with histories of polluting and otherwise destroying the environment in charge of our regulatory agencies? (Of course, he could not do so without a complicit United States Senate to approve his appointments.) The environmental groups I support leave no doubt about which candidate is preferable if we are to save the planet.

But none of what people such as Judge Punch, Joe Gehl, Doug Miller, and I say makes any difference if voters use the cover of the secret ballot to reinstall a President who believes he is above the law and money is everything.

Your readers will have to look at themselves in their mirrors and think of some line of baloney to give their children and grandchildren should any of them ever ask how such a con man got elected President—twice!

Sincerely,

Gary Kent

Albion