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Month: July 2016

Fair crowns royalty, small animal grand master showman

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 31 July 2016 at 3:19 pm

2016 Fair Royalty

KNOWLESVILLE – Fair Royalty for 2016 was crowned during the awards ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

The front row, includes, from left: Dominic Hinkley, prince alternate; Nate Shaw, prince; Olivia Kroening, princess; and Mackenzie McGrath, princess alternate.

Back row:  Will Gregoire, duke alternate; Zac Albright, duke; Riley Seielstad, dutchess alternate; Saleya Williams, dutchess; Claudia Drechsel, queen; and Megan Blackburn, queen alternate.

Rachel Gregoire and Amelia Sidonio

Saturday also featured the top small animal showmen in eight different animals in the Small Animal Grand Master Showman competition. Rachel Gregoire of Murray, left, won the title and Amelia Sidonio of Holley was picked Small Animal Reserve Grand Master Showman.

4-H’ers in the competition were evaluated on their ability to show animals they were given (not their own) in eight different animal areas.

Nicole Mrzwyka

Nicole Mrzywka of Holley competes in the Small Animal Grand Master Showman competition Saturday morning. Nicole was the Fair’s Dog Master Showman. Those in the Saturday contest had to show a dog, chicken and rabbit.

Grant Moy

Grant Moy of Clarendon was Reserve Dog Showman earlier in the week.  Here he shows a chicken as part of the Small Animal Grand Master Showman competition.

Rachel Gregoire

Rachel Gregoire shows a rabbit during the Small Animal Grand Master Showman competition. Rachel was both the Rabbit and Poultry Master Showman. She was chosen Small Animal Grand Master Showman at the Saturday morning competition.

Special 5K race to highlight Medina’s Alumni Weekend activities

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 July 2016 at 3:00 pm
Parents Athletic Club

Contributed Photo – Medina High Athletic Director Eric Valley meets here with members of the new executive board of the Parents Athletic Club in preparation for the next weekend’s annual Alumni Weekend event. The board members include, Margaritte Sherman (President), Joanne Benthin (Treasurer), Melissa Valley (Vice president) and Andrea Lonnen (Secretary). All five are Medina Alumni.

A special memorial 5K run will highlight the sports activities planned for next weekend’s (August 5-7) annual Medina Alumni Weekend.

The Alumni 5K Fun Run will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday in memory of the district’s late Superintendent Jeff Evoy who passed away in June.

The run will start at the Sacred Heart Club, go down the Tow Path to Marshall Road and back.

The weekend’s activities, which are being coordinated by the Parents Athletic Club, will get underway on Friday evening at Vets Park with a Home Run Derby at 6 p.m. and an alumni baseball game at 7.

On Saturday, in addition to the 5K run, there will be a co-ed volleyball tournament at 11:30 a.m. (registration at 11) and a golf tournament at Shelridge at 2:30 p.m. (registration at 2 p.m.).

The activities will conclude on Sunday at Vets Park with a alumni lacrosse game at 4 p.m. and a co-ed soccer game at 7 p.m.

Fire destroys Eagle Harbor home

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2016 at 8:26 pm

Eagle Harbor fire

EAGLE HARBOR – Albion firefighters Chuck Prentice, right, and Mike Dalle spray water on the smoldering remains of a house in Eagle Harbor. Fire torn through the house this afternoon, leveling the structure at 3248 Eagle Harbor Rd.

Firefighters were dispatched to the home of Richard Clark at about 1:30 p.m. The house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Albion firefighters were close by at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Many fire departments were there as part of a display of fire trucks.

Eagle Harbor fire

The quick response to Eagle Harbor wasn’t enough to prevent the house from being a total loss. The structure was set back from the road in a wooded area. Live wires that were sparking added to the challenge.

Eagle Harbor fire

Live wires that were sparking made part of site unsafe. National Grid arrived after this photo was taken to deaden the wires.

Clark wasn’t home at the time when the fire started. He thinks an animal could have started it or perhaps a sparking electric wire. The fire is under investigation.

Dave Bertsch

Carlton firefighter Dave Bertsch gets water on the fire. Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management coordinator, is at right.

4-H’er wins prestigious showman title at her final Fair

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2016 at 3:09 pm

Jayne Bannister and Tanya Nickerson

KNOWLESVILLE – Jayne Bannister, 18, of Point Breeze shows a dairy animal and answers a question from judge Tanya Nickerson during Friday’s Grand Master Showman Competition at the Orleans County 4-H fair.

Jayne won the title, one of the most prestigious honors at the fair. The contest includes the top showman in eight different animals: horse, dairy goat, meat goat, sheep, swine, llama, dairy cattle and beef cattle.

Jayne, a past winner of the grand master showman, won the title in her final year in 4-H. She qualified for the competition after winning the swine showmanship on Monday.

Jayne in May finished her freshman year at Kansas State University, where she is a double major in animal science and agriculture education. She said showing animals the past decade at the fair has helped her in her goal of teaching the public about agriculture and how food is grown and raised.

After the Grand Master Showman competition, Jayne changed clothes to try the grease pole climbing contest for the first time.

Jesse Suttura

Jesse Suttura, 16, of Greece shows a dairy cow during the Grand Master Showman competition. She qualified after winning the horse showmanship. The competition has the winners of each competition earlier in the week show all of the different animals on Friday evening.

The Small Animal Grand Master Showman competition is today at noon.

Rylie Lear, Jesse Suttura, Mel Klossner and Justin Robinson

These competitors in the Grand Master Showman event hold dairy animals while keeping an eye on the judge. The four showmen in this photo include, from left: Rylie Lear, Jesse Suttura, Mel Klossner and Justin Robinson.

Justin Robinson

Justin Robinson, 16, of Albion shows a dairy animal on Friday. He qualified for the event after winning the dairy showmanship.

Natalie Mrzywka

Natalie Mrzywka, 17, of Holley shows a sheep during Friday’s event. Natalie won the grand master showman title last year. She qualified this year by winning the meat goat showmanship.

Natalie said she enjoys the grand master showman event because she learns about so many different types of farm animals. The competition last more than two hours.

“It’s fun to be in the ring,” she said.

Jayne Bannister, Nicole Mrzywka,  Justin Robinson and Natalie Mrzywka

The showmen try to get the sheep squared and set up for the judge. The 4-H’ers include, from left: Jayne Bannister, Nicole Mrzywka (the reserve grand master showman), Justin Robinson and Natalie Mrzywka.

Rylie Lear

Rylie Lear of Waterport shows a dairy animal. She qualified after winning the beef cattle competition.

Justin Robinson

Justin Robinson leads a beef animal around the show ring while other competitors show the animals to judge Tanya Nickerson.

Seymour Murdock was portrait of pioneer spirit

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 30 July 2016 at 1:40 pm

Seymour Murdock

Volume 2, Issue 31

“It has been playfully said that you may place a Yankee in the woods with an ax, an auger and a knife, his only tools, and with the trees his only material for use, and he will build a palace…” – Arad Thomas, 1859

We are fortunate to retain the images of our pioneer ancestors, showing the faces of hardship and tribulation. This studio portrait taken in Rochester shows Seymour B. Murdock of Ridgeway in his advanced age, likely in his late 70’s. Over 200 years ago, Murdock was brought to the frontier of Western New York by his father and namesake, Seymour Murdock, arriving on June 1, 1810.

The Murdock clan, consisting of twelve family members, packed into wagons drawn by a team of oxen for the nearly 300-mile journey. Upon reaching the Genesee River, the family was met by dense forests and difficult travel the entire distance to their next stop at Clarkson. There they lodged in a roughly constructed log tavern before starting the journey westward to the family lot in Ridgeway.

The next stretch of the expedition was far more treacherous. Between Clarkson and Ridgeway, the family encountered three poorly constructed log cabins during the two-day trek. Upon their arrival at Otter Creek, the family was met by embankments lined with logs to form a “dugway.”

The path was so steep as to form a nearly perpendicular trail up the west bank. To drag the wagons up the precipice, the oxen were maneuvered to the top of the hill and the wagons pulled from the creek. The oxen struggled under the heavy load and at one point were pulled backwards by the weight of the wagons; one ox buckled under the weight, caught his horn under a root, and tore it clean off.

Traveling further westward, the family encountered another challenge upon reaching the banks of Oak Orchard Creek. A similar dugway was constructed at this site for use by the “Yankee Wagons” used by earlier pioneer groups. The pathway proved too narrow for the long axles of the Conestoga wagons used by Murdock’s group and nearly rolled the wagons and oxen down the embankment.

The arrival at the family’s new homestead was welcomed with great celebration and provisions were immediately spread out in preparation for a “first meal” on the new land. One can only imagine how frightful those early years were for families with young children. Roughly 30 miles south was Batavia, the location of the closest store, post office, and church; Niagara Falls was the closest grist mill. The closest neighbors in any direction were approximately 5-7 miles away.

As the War of 1812 raged on the Niagara Frontier, focus shifted from raising crops to protecting pioneer homes. This created a lack of provisions and forced families to abandon their homes in search of safety and security. When the British captured Ft. Niagara, local men took up arms in preparation for the potential eastward path of the enemy. A band of Tuscarora Indians passing along the Ridge gave the locals quite a scare before they realized the group was friendly.

During this same time, Gen. George Izard was traveling along the Ridge Road towards Ft. Niagara when he encountered the elder Seymour Murdock attempting to raise a barn. With a lack of able-bodied men in the area, the General directed his troops to assist in the construction of the barn. A bronze historic marker sits on the site, calling attention to this barn situated approximately 100 feet southeast of the road. It was in this barn that Betsey Murdock conducted the first school in Ridgeway.

County forgives $75K in back taxes to help develop old Holley High School

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2016 at 6:13 pm
Old Holley High School

File Photo by Tom Rivers –The old Holley High School is being eyed by a developer for senior apartments. The Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday agreed to forgive back taxes.

HOLLEY – Orleans County legislators on Wednesday forgave $75,421 in back taxes for the old Holley High School, hoping that tax relief can help a prospective developer revive the site and turn it into senior housing and offices.

Home Leasing, LLC, is eyeing the site for senior housing apartments as well as office space for the Village of Holley.

The former school at 1 Wright Street has been vacant for about two decades. The school was built in 1931 at the corner of routes 31 and 237. It is one of the most prominent buildings in Holley.

It was last used by Liftec Manufacturing, which went bankrupt. Liftec’s owner and his wife are both now deceased.

The site hasn’t generated local taxes since 2002. The county will often acquire buildings when taxes aren’t paid after several years, but the county hasn’t taken ownership of the former school because county officials didn’t want that liability on the county.

Local government leaders have been trying to find a solution for the building for many years. The site was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, making the developer eligible for tax credits for 40 percent of the project’s rehabilitation costs.

“It’s going to be great for the east end of the county,” Legislator Lynne Johnson said in supporting the resolution to forgive the taxes.

Legislature Chairman David Callard said there is still a lot of work to do to make the project a reality.

“It’s still not a done deal,” he said. “It will be a wonderful project if it comes to fruition.”

Holley English teacher arrested for child pornography

Staff Reports Posted 29 July 2016 at 3:38 pm

ROCHESTER – A Holley English teacher has been arrested for child pornography, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today.

Steven Choi, 41, of Rochester was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with receipt and possession of child pornography.

The receipt of child pornography charge carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years, while the possession of child pornography charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force identified the defendant accessing child pornography online. A forensic examination of that computer recovered sexually explicit photographs of prepubescent girls.

Choi made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman. He is due back in federal court for a status hearing on August 12, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen. The task force includes the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, and the Greece Police Department.

Holley Central School issued this statement to WROC-TV in Rochester: “The Holley Central School District was informed by law enforcement officials about the arrest of a district employee. This employee is not currently involved in any district programs or activities during summer recess. The employee will be banned from all district grounds. The district will cooperate fully with law enforcement and seek disciplinary action as appropriate.”

Railroad company will replace 3 crossings in August

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2016 at 3:06 pm

Section of Densmore Road will close starting Monday

ALBION – Genesee Valley Transportation Company, owner of the Falls Road Railroad that runs through Orleans County, is replacing three railroad crossings in Orleans County next month.

The first project will be on Densmore Road in the Town of Albion. The section of Densmore near the tracks will be closed beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Monday and is expected to reopen on Friday afternoon next week, said Christian M. Henrici, director of Operations and Projects for GVT, which is based in Batavia.

No detours will be posted, but signs will be placed at the nearest crossroad to advise of closure. The State Department of Transportation is supplying the material and GVT is providing the equipment and labor to install the new crossings.

Other new crossings and a schedule for work includes: Hulberton Road in Town of Murray, closed RR crossing from Aug. 8 through Aug. 12; Lynch Road in Town of Murray, closed RR crossing from Aug. 15 through Aug. 23.

Orleans deputy honored in front of peers, community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 July 2016 at 7:08 pm
James DeFilipps

James DeFilipps named NY deputy of the year

KNOWLESVILLE – James DeFilipps, a deputy with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, receives the 2015 “Deputy of the Year” by the New York State Sheriff’s Association from Ronald Spike, Yates County sheriff. Spike is also chairman of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute Board of Directors.

The association held its annual awards ceremony in January, but DeFilipps was unable to attend the program in Albany because his wife Marie gave birth to the couple’s second child, Gianna, on Jan. 19.

Rather than have a quiet presentation at the Sheriff’s Office in Albion, Sheriff Randy Bower wanted DeFilipps to be recognized in front of the community at the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

James DeFilipps and Randy Bower

Jim DeFilipps is congratulated on the award by Sheriff Randy Bower, center, and Undersheriff Chris Bourke, left.

“We are celebrating a true hero,” Bower told a crowd of more than 100 people at the presentation.

DeFilipps was recognized for performing an act of valor and heroism, above the normal call of duty, the Sheriff’s Association said.

It was 3 a.m. on March 21 when DeFilipps was shot twice following a high-speed chase with James Ellis of Wyoming County. DeFilipps was the first police officer on scene when Ellis wrecked his vehicle in Clarendon on Route 31A. Police were pursuing Ellis after a 911 call when he threatened an ex-girlfriend in Shelby with a gun.

After the crash in Clarendon, Ellis fled to a nearby wooded area and opened fire on DeFilipps and other deputies and police to arrive on the scene. DeFilipps, despite getting hit twice by gunfire, shot Ellis, killing him and ending his threat.

DeFilipps, after being wounded in the abdomen, kept a rifle light on Ellis so he could be found by other police officers, who gave him first aid. Ellis would die at the scene.

“Deputy DeFilipps’ quick actions that night eliminated a threat and saved other officers and civilians injuries from the crazed man,” Spike said in presenting the award to DeFilipps. “The State Sheriff’s (Association) determined that Deputy DeFilipps’ actions were exceptional while in the line of duty.”

Randy Bower

Sheriff Randy Bower nominated DeFilipps for the NYS “Deputy of the Year.”

DeFilipps’ life was likely saved by wearing a bullet-proof vest. He suffered serious abdominal bruising. He returned to work the night shift after three months of recovery. in January, he switched to working the day shift and is currently in charge of the Marine Patrol Division.

DeFilipps, a Holley resident, started his career with the Holley Police Department. He has worked as a deputy for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office for about 13 years.

He said the award was “overwhelming.” He said the threat of gunfire while on the job “is something that’s always on your mind.”

Gianna DeFilipps

Marie DeFilipps holds Gianna DeFilipps, who was born on Jan. 19.

Spike also praised the other responding law enforcement officers during the incident on March 21, 2015 in the middle of the night. Spike said dispatchers, volunteer firefighters and other first responders also should be commended.

“Orleans County can be proud to have such dedicated public safety members of this community,” Spike said.

James DeFilipps, Ronald Spike and Randy Bower

Deputy Jim DeFilipps holds the “Deputy of the Year” award next to Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike, left, and Randy Bower, the Orleans County sheriff.

“The Sheriffs of New York State have conferred upon Deputy James DeFilipps the 2015 New York State Deputy Sheriff of the Year Award for exceptional public safety service demonstrating bravery and perseverance while facing gunfire in attempting to conserve the peace in his county,” Spike said.

Randy Bower

Bower gives a contingent from the Sheriff’s Office instructions on how to line up during the ceremony honoring DeFilipps.

Holley man faces drug, robbery charges

Staff Reports Posted 28 July 2016 at 3:36 pm
Scott Davis

Scott Davis

MURRAY – A Holley man faces drug and robbery charges after being arrested today following an investigation into the sale and distribution of cocaine in the Town of Murray, The Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force is reported.

Scott E. Davis, 28, of 15841 Brockville Rd., Holley, was arrested on drug charges and an outstanding warrant for a robbery charge out of the Town of Ogden. Brooks was located just after midnight today by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department in the area of the canal bridge on Fancher Road in Murrray.

Davis was charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (Class B felonies) and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (Class B felonies).

He also is wanted on a warrant for robbery in the third degree by the Ogden Town Police Department.

Davis was arraigned in Murray Town Court by Town Justice Gary Passarell. Davis was committed to the Orleans County Jail on $100,000 bail. He is to return back to Murray Town Court on Aug. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

New York State Police assisted with the apprehension of Davis.